Is It Ever Right to Seize a Student’s Behaviors in School?
You have your child’s backs, but you might want to rethink your trust with the school system in the near future. That’s because schools can legally restrain or lock down students in their grades 3-5 if deemed necessary to protect themselves, their property, the students or teachers. And most times, the schools choose to restrain students or lock them in rooms. Sincerely the idea that the schools are as upset as you are. That’s because schools were never intended to be judgemental with the students, and now they’re well on their way to becoming just that.
The National Education Association describes restraint or isolation (formerly known as seclusion or restraining) as a method used to regulate behaviors among students, primarily those with emotional disorders. The phrase that’s most frequently associated with seclusion or restraint is “the utmost restraint”. While that might be true, the danger is that they’re often very poor choices. Furthermore, in some situations, placing someone in a seclusion or restraint room or restricting their movement can actually harm them.
“Excessive restraint is not mandated in most states, but that doesn’t mean it is prohibited. And, even when it is, there are some guidelines that schools can follow that limit what they can do,” the PBS article pointed out.
Excessive restraint consists of any form of restraint or restriction that is applied consistently and is less than the breaking point. You’ll see schools restraining students with their wrists, ankles, faces, arms, and legs. Excessive restraint is also being used to “correct” a student that is exhibiting any type of abnormal behavior, such as lying down or walking to the bathroom in the wrong direction.
There is also a special category called consistent restraint, which the PBS article described as “an appropriate response to an unsafe environment”. Compounding the problem is the fact that schools are often required to consult outside agencies to prescribe what constitutes an unsafe environment, rather than the school administrators. While that might seem beneficial, according to the article, schools can be negligent and not follow such a guideline.
To make matters worse, the schools aren’t the only ones that are shortchanging students. Their parents are usually guilty of resorting to excessive restraint, as well.
“The school has no way of knowing that the parents know that their child needs a parent’s attention and aren’t responding to that in the ways they should,” David J. Reza, a psychologist and member of the advocacy organization the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, told USA Today.
Even more disturbing, and sad as it is, is the fact that many parents don’t have good parenting skills. They can’t be bothered to know the law. They just want to keep their child safe. It seems like parents are not guilty of neglect as much as they are guilty of weakness. They don’t know how to keep their children safe without resorting to excessive restraints and other traumatic techniques.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has strongly warned parents to be careful when deciding how to handle the students.
“We’re not saying it’s necessarily wrong, but we’re saying consider the potential consequences,” Edie Westbrook, the OCR’s deputy director of programs, told USA Today.
Interestingly, according to a report by Prison Fellowship, there has been a dramatic decrease in restraint and seclusion in U.S. schools. For many years, there were reports of students being tied to their desks, locked in rooms, and strapped down to their beds. However, the report says that these practices have largely been relegated to the past.
Not only is there a decrease in these types of incidents, but the rates have also decreased dramatically. According to the report, in 2012, incidents totaled a whopping 155,000. In 2017, that number dropped to only 8,200 incidents. With the increase in school violence and violent incidents, you can be sure that the schools will continue to decide how to put the students in their charge in a way that will protect them from the dangers and difficulties that they face in school. After all, that’s what schools are for. Keep reading the original article from the PBS site for more information on schools and excessive restraint.