Archive for Saturday, February 9, 2013

State Board of Education to consider new regulations on seclusion and restraint

February 9, 2013


Students with autism and other conditions that cause behavior disorders would be protected from the use of harsh physical restraint procedures under proposed new regulations being considered by the Kansas State Board of Education.

The board will hold a public hearing on the proposed new regulations when it meets Tuesday at the Department of Education office, 120 SE 10th Ave. in Topeka. The board could vote to adopt the proposed regulations as early as Wednesday.

Currently the state maintains guidelines that schools are encouraged, but not mandated, to follow. But the new regulations on “emergency safety interventions” would go further by requiring all school districts to adopt formal policies that conform to specific standards. They would also require schools to provide training in the use of those interventions and to document every instance when they are used.

The new regulations grew out of hearings at the Kansas Legislature last year where parents of behavioral disorder students pushed for legislation to ban the use of certain seclusion and restraint procedures. They recounted stories of school officials using harsh, and potentially dangerous, restraint procedures, as well as the frequent use of isolation rooms as a way of controlling their children's behavior. They also said schools were reluctant to put their policies in writing, and often failed to notify parents of instances when those procedures were used.

Special education advocates, on the other hand, stressed that teachers are held responsible for the safety of all children in their classrooms, and they warned that passage of new laws or regulations banning the use of seclusion and restraint could leave school officials with no options other than to call law enforcement when students with severe behavior disorders go through violent, sometimes uncontrollable, outbursts.

Parents countered that there are evidence-based techniques that can be used to manage the behavior of those children, and that with proper training teachers and other school officials would not need to resort to more drastic measures.

In the end, the Legislature agreed not to enact legislation, but instead directed the State Board of Education to adopt formal regulations governing emergency safety interventions.

On Wednesday following the public hearing, staff from the Department of Education will respond to the comments received. The board could then vote to adopt the regulations as written or send them back for further amendments.

In other business, the state board will:

• Hear a report from Commissioner Diane DeBacker on development of new teacher evaluation protocols; legislative bills on third-grade retention for reading proficiency; and proposals to bring the Jobs for America's Graduates programs to a limited number of Kansas schools.

• Act on recommendations to remove "Adequate Yearly Progress" benchmarks from the state's school accreditation standards and replace it with the new "Annual Measurable Objectives," consistent with the state's federal waiver from No Child Left Behind.

• Review the state's out-of-state licensure process.

• Receive an update on development of the Next Generation Science Standards.

• Review pending legislation and budget proposals dealing with education issues.

• Hear a presentation of the governor's School Efficiency Task Force recommendations.

• Receive an update on the state's new Career and Technical Education initiative.

• And discuss public feedback on proposed new history, government and social studies curriculum standards.


cowboy 5 years, 4 months ago

I think most of the public would be shocked at what behaviors our teachers have to deal with in the schools

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Reasonable is the key word there. I don't think it's unreasonable to require teachers to be trained in how and when to safely restrain someone - kids have died from improper restraints. I also don't think it's unreasonable to document when and how restraint is used. If a kid is being restrained daily, the parent should know about it, and so should the school administration. It isn't making anyone safer to sweep problems under the rug.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

No Child Left Behind was a disaster that was designed to make public education appear as a failure. I'm guessing No Child Left Behind is a product of ALEC.

The failure is No Child Left Behind and ALEC.

One other issue is that USD 497 is paying a group that is part of ALEC. K-12 Virtual School was designed by those who rail against tax dollars YET get on the tax dollar payroll. William "Bill " Bennet' a former Reagan/Bush cabinet person is behind K-12 Virtual School curriculum.

USD 497 should dump that curriculum and find another. There are plenty of good virtual curriculums available. Why pay the people who want to kill public education?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Merrill, you keep railing against No Child Left Behind as if it destroyed a school system that had been operated well prior to it's implementation. That's not true. NCLB has been a failure in my opinion, but it did try to address some pre-existing problems. Shall we blame the Democratic President Clinton for those problems? I say no. The problems are neither Democrat nor Republican, neither progressive nor conservative.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

NCLB was a bipartisan failure, no matter what the intent. It tried to address problems in the educational system with a lot of unfunded mandates and invalid assumptions about the cause of those problems.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

It also seems to me that students with disorders should be in separate classes if that is not the case.

Perhaps taking back East Heights School building as the site for students with disorders equipped with individuals trained specifically for such?

This seems like a ton a responsibility for the public education system.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Every child is entitled to a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment possible. Separate but equal doesn't work well - not even for special needs students.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 4 months ago

All of us live in an integrated society. Children with autism are part of our society. We need to learn to live with people with autism and teachers and school administrators need to be trained to deal with issues like those described in the article. Most of the comments above are from people who are well meaning but uninformed. The same sort of comments were posted on an article about kids with diabetes in lawrence schools about a year ago.

cowboy 5 years, 4 months ago

i doubt the diabetic students were assaulting students and staff on a daily basis or in need of diaper changes , and seclusion rooms. You seem to be completely uniformed.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Violent mood swings, irritability, jerky movements, and confusion.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

I doubt most of the autistic students are assaulting students and staff on a daily basis or in need of diaper changes and seclusion rooms. You seem to be completely uninformed.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Really? "Autism students?" Autism is a noun referring to the condition. Autistic is the adjective, but it can sometimes be used as a noun. School teachers usually prefer person-first language like "students with autism," and self advocates usually prefer "autistics," and I doubt anyone would flinch at "autistic students," but it doesn't give you any credibility to say "autism students."

Now, nobody is going to deny that there are special need students, whether with autism or some other condition who are potentially violent. The adjective I used was most and I'm speaking from data and not anecdotes.

Autism is a spectrum with a range from severely disabled and non-verbal to slightly quirky and very bright with some social tics. The vast majority of students on the spectrum are capable of using the toilet and are not in need of constant restraint.

If a teacher is going to have a student who is violent in their classroom, they need some damned training on how to handle that student for the sake of themselves and everyone else in that class, including the student in question. Not all incidents are the same, which is why that child should have a behavior plan on file that outlines what the procedures are with that child. If the child needs to be restrained or secluded every. single. day, something is wrong, either with the procedures or the student placement.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

NCLB was a child of BUSHCO that dictated more testing than learning. This NCLB approach denied students a whole education.

Certainly NCLB was not the child of educators not by a long shot. It forced more local spending on leaner available dollars. Reckless.

There is nothing wrong with the public education system that proper funding,doing away with NCLB and keeping ALEC out of way couldn't fix. Public schools and teacher unions are not the problem. ALEC controlled republicans are the problem.

The only thing that ALEC pushers see is zillions of tax $$$$$$ going into private for profit bank accounts. Then reducing the wages and eliminating benefits by way of busting unions in addition to handing out thousands of pink slips to out existing teaching staff.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't know what the answer is, but when they drag the smartest kid in the class down to the slowest kids level, everyone loses. Kids with special needs should be places in the appropriate settings as should the smartest ones. Flame away, but there is a curve in life whether you are buying shoes or educating children not everyone wears the same size, and no one likes it when their feet hurt.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Inclusion doesn't have to drag the smartest kids down. In fact, KU recently developed a model of inclusion that improved outcomes. They got a huge grant to develop a model for everyone.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 4 months ago

Good for them, nothing like a one size fits all approach funded by a grant designed to produce the disired outcome.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

It also seems to me that students with special requirements should be in separate classes if that is not the case.

Perhaps taking back East Heights School building as the site for special needs students equipped with teaching staff trained specifically for such?

This seems like a ton a responsibility for the public education system. UNLESS the public education system is funded accordingly to provide all that special needs students require so they may move forward. Smaller classes with more education staff to meet the demand. This should be a no brainer.

Do whatever necessary to improve their quality of life. 47 million tax $$$$$ provided for a Special Needs Education Budget would be smart spending.

Last year, Kansas used workers' withholding taxes to bribe AMC Entertainment with a $47 million payment to move its headquarters from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to a KC suburb on the Kansas side, just 10 miles away. RECKLESS PRIORITIES

tomatogrower 5 years, 4 months ago

For the vast majority of students inclusion is beneficial, but not all students have behavior disabilities. Not even all autistic children have behavior problems. But if they do have melt downs, they need to be taken out of the classroom to protect others, and if it's a common event they need to be put in a non-inclusive environment. We have to consider the other students. A plan must be worked up and followed with the parents, but the parents have to understand that safety comes first. Most parents do understand, but some think that if their child is out of control it's the school's fault.

hannahss 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes! For some students the least restrictive environment is a self contained classroom. People have been sold the mistaken idea that everyone belongs in the regular ed. classroom That becomes as inflexible as the old self contained model. You would not believe what teachers and students are subjected to in some situations. It is not right, and the raging child is not learning in those situations. There needs to be a willingness to place each child in an appropriate situation, not just the regular ed. setting no matter what. And there needs to be a well thought out plan for how to handle kids that are a danger, for everyone's sake.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

I'd like to think that the teacher handling the situation knows what they're doing and isn't going to accidentally kill that child. Children in schools have died from improper restraint. I'd like to think that a school needs to document exactly why they're secluding or restraining a child, so they don't start making it a commonplace punishment for kids that are non-compliant but not violent or dangerous. That has also happened.

Most of the horrific abuses making the news have happened in private schools, but I still would rather see some reasonable written guidelines on the books before Brownback turns this state into a charter-private-voucher-topia.

speedy47 5 years, 4 months ago

I've found inclusion to be a win-win situation. "Brilliant" kids learn empathy and to be roll models. They also appreciate their own abilities. "Special" children learn behavioral skills from the roll models. I feel like inclusion, if handled correctly, benefits society.

kuguardgrl13 5 years, 4 months ago

Inclusion does not mean that you pack all of the kids in the same classroom for every minute of the day. Many states have varying degrees of what inclusion entails. When I was in high school in Minnesota, they had a section of the school devoted to severely disabled students. They are surrounded by highly trained special education teachers and paraprofessionals. The rest of us saw them in gym classes, choir, and other classes where there was always a para on hand. High functioning special ed students had most of their classes with everyone else. They might be pulled out for remedial math or extra study time with a para. In Pennsylvania, we had high functioning and low functioning students with Autism and Down's Syndrome who took science with us (and a para on hand). We learned patience by being lab partners with them. Kansas needs to find what works best for all Kansas students. They may even have to let each school district develop a state approved plan. Every case is different.

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