Tag Archive for 'seclusion'

More NPR seclusion-restraint

Hooray for US National Public Radio! In a follow-up to the segment of Talk of the Nation that aired yesterday, there are notes about “Discipline Success Stories.” According to the page, “NPR Producer Susannah George asked some additional educators and counselors to tell her a story about a child who acted out, and what they did to diffuse the situation.” The results include comments by George Sugai (PBIS) and Bev Johns (personal experience).

Link to the coverage.

Notes about reducing misbehavior

The recent discussions in the press and the US Congress about seclusion and restraint prompted me to draft these preliminary notes about alternatives that are available to school personnel. Generally, one does not need to resort to putting students in isolation or holding them to the ground.

Schools that employ evidence-based practices have a wealth of alternatives to physical seclusion or restraint. These methods range from plain, old good teaching to systematic analysis of the functions that misbehaviors serve. In the next few paragraphs, I present laconic descriptions of these.
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US Congress hearings follow-up notes

Representatives of Democrats on the US House Education and Labor Committee provided me with a list of resources covering the hearing held 19 May 2009. These hearings were about the use and misuse of seclusion and restraint in managing students’ behavior. Here’re items from that list:

Links to some earlier posts on this topic: “Seclusion and restraint: US hearings coverage” (19 May 2009), “US House to review seclusion and restraint” (here 13 May 2009) and “Seclusion and restraint: NDRN report” (15 January 2009 on Teach Effectively)

Seclusion and restraint: US hearings coverage

Reporting for US National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Joe Shapiro covered the debate about disciplinary methods in schools. In “Discipline Methods Endanger Disabled Kids,” Mr. Shapiro presented different views ahead of hearings that were to be held later today in the US House of Representatives.

The hearings were prompted by the distressing report by the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) about seclusion and restraint in US schools. Although there’s going to be plenty of opportunity for demagoguery and people who follow the hearings will need to separate fact and opinion carefully, the topic is an important one and hearings are merited.

In some cases, the Government Accountability Office report notes, children have died or been injured when they have been tied, taped, handcuffed or pinned down by adults or locked in secluded rooms, often to be left for hours at a time.

The report looking at restraint and seclusion in schools will be released Tuesday at a hearing by the House Committee on Education and Labor. Committee Chairman George Miller, who asked for the GAO report, says it begins to give lawmakers a sense of the frequent use of those methods.

As reported here on Behavior Mod Info previously, there is virtually no need for harsh punishment, seclusion, or restraint in working with children. Mr. Shapiro’s report includes quotes about alternative methods for addressing behavior problems (e.g., functional behavior assessment).

Read Mr. Shapiro’s report. See my notes about “US House to review seclusion and restraint” (here 13 May 2009) and “Seclusion and restraint: NDRN report” (15 January 2009 on Teach Effectively).

US House to review seclusion and restraint

The press offices of the US House Committee on Education and Labor issued notices about pending hearings regarding seclusion and restraint procedures. As noted elsewhere, statements by advocacy organizations and news reports about instances of terrific abuses have made the use of seclusion and restraint at current issue in the US.

Advisory: House Education Committee to Examine Abusive and Deadly Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Schools

WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, May 19, the House Committee on Education and Labor will hold a hearing to examine abusive and deadly uses of seclusion and restraint in U.S. schools. Seclusion and restraint are physical interventions used by teachers and other school staff to prevent students from hurting themselves or others.

WHAT: Full Committee Hearing on “Examining the Abusive and Deadly Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Schools”

WHO: Witnesses TBA

WHEN: Tuesday, May 19, 2009
10:00 a.m. EDT

WHERE: House Education and Labor Committee Hearing Room, 2175 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

Seclusion and restraint may be appropriately employed as a means of reducing responding (i.e., decreasing the frequency of behavior), but they very rarely are necessary. In addition to conducting FBAs, there are many means of decreasing responding that do not require physical seclusion or restraint (see, for example research on the procedures such as the “time-out ribbon” by Foxx and Shapiro). Unfortunately, people who do not employ behavior modification procedures in ways that are faithful to the research sometimes use seclusion or restraint, and they make such a hash of it that they hurt children. To borrow a phrase, school is not supposed to hurt.

People who hurt children, whether because they misuse procedures than can be used effectively or because they simply don’t know better, should receive immediate and sustained coaching in how to use effective and benign behavior modification methods. If they do not subsequently the employ those effective and benign procedures, they should find another place to work.

I hope one of the outcomes of these hearings is an emphasis on ensuring that the faculty and staff members in schools are required to learn how to iimplement effective behavior modification procedures. Given that there are millions of people involved in the educational endeavor, it is unlikely that mis-uses of behavioral procedures will ever be completely eliminated. However, educators could decrease the incidence of abusive instances by understanding and employing behavioral procedures appropriately.

See notes on Teach Effectively (15 Jan 2009), The Life that Chose Me (12 Mar 2009), EBD Blog (21 Apr 2009), and (surely) elsewhere on the Internet. It is likely that additional information will be posted at the House Committee’s Web site.

Unrestrained management

In “Calm Down or Else,” (15 July 2008) Benedict Carey reports about a possible increase in the use of restraints, seclusion, and other physically coercive methods to manage disruptive behavior.

For more than a decade, parents of children with developmental and psychiatric problems have pushed to gain more access to mainstream schools and classrooms for their sons and daughters. One unfortunate result, some experts say, is schools’ increasing use of precisely the sort of practices families hoped to avoid by steering clear of institutionalized settings: takedowns, isolation rooms, restraining chairs with straps, and worse.
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