When students pose a threat to themselves or others, educators sometimes need to restrain them or remove them to a separate space. That’s supposed to be a last resort, and it’s a controversial practice.
There are guidelines around restraint and seclusion in schools, there are no federal laws governing how they can be used, and the guidelines aren’t always followed. And according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, they’re most often used on students with disabilities or special needs, and on boys.
As we’ve discussed on this show in previous episodes, Physical restraint, chemical restraint, and seclusion are all used in Arkansas’s psychiatric residential treatment facilities (PRTFs). Federal and state guidelines do not prohibit these practices, but do require they be used as a last resort, and never used for the purpose of retaliation, coercion, punishment, or convenience. Yet they are absolutely used that way, and often. Federal and state regulations limit the use of restraint to emergency situations where the safety of the resident or another person is at risk. But residents have reported being restrained as punishment, for refusing to do a task, or being verbally aggressive.
Restraint and seclusion – what they are, what their intended purpose is, how they’re overused and used inappropriately, and what we can do to stop it – this week on Speak Up Arkansas.
You can listen in live tomorrow night (Wednesday, February 17) at 5:00 p.m. on KABF 88.3, livestream the show at kabf.org, and as always, you can listen to the recording anytime on our website at disabilityrightsAR.org/speak-up-arkansas.