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Oregon Orders School to Remove Seclusion Rooms

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Friday, September 13, 2013 at 8:00 AM

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PhotoAtelier / Flickr

The Oregon state legislature banned certain kinds of seclusion rooms earlier this year. Now the state's Board of Education has ordered a Portland public school to remove four seclusion rooms, Northwest Public Radio reports.

Seclusion rooms are enclosed spaces that are supposed to be used to calm or restrain children who become violent. They are often used for children with special needs.

From Northwest Public Radio:

Democratic Representative Sara Gelser, who championed the measure, says she's glad the state has clarified the legislation's intent.

"Sometimes we pass laws and we have to pay attention to them. It's not just about getting that bill across the floor," says Gelser. "It's about making sure that changes are actually made to make schools better, safer places for kids."

The Portland Public School district questioned whether the law actually applied to the cells at Pioneer School. Nonetheless, it had already decided not to use the seclusion cells during the current academic year.

In Ohio, until recently no state law governed the rooms' use, and the Ohio Department of Education had provided little guidance and virtually no oversight to schools.

A 2012 investigation by The Columbus Dispatch and StateImpact Ohio found that seclusion rooms are misused in some Ohio schools.

Ohio's state Board of Education approved a policy regulating the use of restraint and seclusion in schools earlier this year.

That policy bans restraint and seclusion except in cases of "immediate risk of physical harm," requires the use of seclusion and restraint to be documented and reported to parents, and requires staff training.

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