The Council for Exceptional Children, a professional association for special educators, has announced a policy on the use of physical restraint and seclusion in school settings. The group hopes to establish as a professional standard that such procedures should only be used as a last resort when a child or others are in immediate danger, the policy says.
The group is also pushing for new laws that would require data on restraint and seclusion be reported to outside agencies, such as state or provincial departments of education.
“This policy indicates the high professional ethics and standards the special education community holds itself to,” CEC President Kathleen Pucket said in a statement. “There are numerous evidence-based practices that do not involve physical restraints or seclusion that teachers and school personnel may use to manage challenging behaviors. Restraint and seclusion procedures, if used at all, must be implemented properly. One child harmed is one too many.”
The policy said neither restraint nor seclusion should be used as a punishment to force compliance. Interventions for children with behavior problems should focus on prevention and positive behavioral supports. School staff should be required to have training on how to avoid and defuse crisis and conflicts. There must be an adult supervising any child in seclusion. If a school uses physical restraint or seclusion procedures, there should be a written positive behavior-support plan and pre-established emergency procedures, the policy says.
Readers can view CEC’s full policy on physical restraint and seclusion here.
A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.