Ohio schools now have a set of guidelines to follow when it comes to their use of seclusion rooms and restraints. State Impact Ohio’s Ida Lieszkovsky reports the State Board of Education passed a policy regulating seclusion and restraint at their board meeting on Tuesday.
Seclusion rooms are small rooms used to isolate students, and restraints are when a student is held down in some way.
They’re supposed to be reserved for students who pose a physical threat. But an investigation by StateImpact Ohio and the Columbus Dispatch last year found they are often used to punish students who misbehave.
Ohio Department of Education spokesman John Charlton says the new policy tries to standardize the use of restrictive measures.
CHARLTON: "It certainly gives some structure and some guidelines on how they can use seclusion rooms and use restraint within their school district. I think in the past there’s been probably a lack of policy, and lack of guidance provided."
The policy says schools should notify parents if their child is secluded or restrained, and schools should note the event in a child’s file.
The Department of Education can then request that data. But that data won’t be public.
And charter schools are exempt from the entire policy. The policy is non-binding, though the Board will consider a set of regulations in the Spring that schools would have to follow.