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Indiana Considers Seclusion and Restraint Policy for Schools

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Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Cindy Cornett Seigle / Flickr

Indiana lawmakers are considering a state law that would regulate the use of seclusion and restraint in all public schools. Currently, the Indiana Department of Education suggests that schools have their own policies on the use of seclusion and restraint, our colleagues at StateImpact Indiana report:

But ARC of Indiana Associate Director Kim Dodson says the IDOE’s guidance doesn’t go far enough. “What we have is some schools with very good, thoughtful policies, we have some schools with not so good policies, and then we still have a lot of schools with no policies at all,” Dodson told the Senate Education Committee Wednesday.

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Seclusion rooms are enclosed spaces that are supposed to be used to calm or restrain children who become violent. But an investigation by StateImpact Ohio and the Columbus Dispatch last year found they are often used to punish students who misbehave.

Ohio does not currently regulate the use of seclusion rooms in schools.

A policy approved last month by the state Board of Education will change that. That new policy goes into effect starting next school year.

The Ohio policy says schools should notify parents if their children are secluded or restrained, and schools should note the event in a child’s file. It also allows the Department of Education to review schools' records about the use of seclusion and restraint.

But unlike the proposed Indiana law, Ohio's new policy only applies to traditional public schools and programs operated by educational service centers--not charter schools.

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