REVIEW: AASA’s Report on Student Restraint and Seclusion and the Response from TASH
[caption id="attachment_1233" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Image courtesy of nixxphotography"][/caption] As members of the special education community, many CW readers may have already heard of the recent report filed by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) titled, “Keeping Schools Safe: How Seclusion and Restraint Protects Students and School Personnel.” The AASA published this report in response to HR1381 and S2020, legislation being reviewed by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate regarding the use of seclusion and restraint in schools and the lack of federal regulation thereof – basing the law on parallel federal mandates on the use of seclusion and restraint in mental health institutions. Since the publication of the report earlier this month, a lot of controversy has risen up regarding the position taken by the largest lobbying agency for school administrators since many parents, educators and parallel associations, including the disability advocacy group TASH, see their conclusions as contrary to the best interest of the students subject to seclusion and restraint. The AASA’s Side The American Association of School Administrators’ concern over the passage of HR1381/S2020 stems from their belief that the use of restraint in certain situations is necessary in order to ensure the general health and safety of the greater student population as well as the educators, paraprofessionals and administrators who serve them. Using largely anecdotal evidence gathered from a nation-wide survey, AASA contends that the passage of this legislation would do one of two things:
- In the event of an educator’s inability to intervene, endanger the health and safety of bystanders to student aggression and acting out.
- In the event of intervention, open the school to lawsuits by the parents of the restrained or secluded child due to the extreme definition of “serious bodily injury” required for physical intervention.
- 69% of all incidents of restraint and seclusion were directed towards children under 10.
- 70% of students who were secluded or restrained were identified as having disabilities.
- And among that 70%, 60% of disabled students were shown to have limited or no communication mechanism (including speech) and most were autistic.