It’s Toolbox Tuesday!! We’ve got guidance from OCR about the use of restraint.

In the Toolbox Training we talk about the use of physical restraint, and how it should only be used in a genuine emergency.  Many of the readers of this blog have been trained on the use of restraint and are familiar with the protocols to be used.  To add to that, we now have a Dear Colleague Letter from the Office for Civil Rights about how the use of restraint may implicate  Section 504.

The DCL includes the usual admonitions to avoid any discriminatory treatment, but also makes the following key points:

1. The need to restrain a student not yet identified under IDEA or 504 may indicate a need to conduct an evaluation.   This is particularly true if restraint is done more than once.

2. Students who demonstrate behavioral challenges may have a disability even if they are performing well academically.

3. For students already identified under IDEA or 504, the use of restraints is an indicator that the current array of services are inadequate. Do something about it.

4. Section 504 does not prohibit the use of restraint. It prohibits the discriminatory use of restraint.

5. Use of restraint or seclusion may amount to a denial of FAPE. This is true even if it is just a single instance, if the event has a “traumatic impact on that student.”

6. Students who have experienced trauma in the past could be more impacted by restraint than others.

We discuss all of these issues in the Toolbox training.  The Toolbox is an all day program that covers a lot of ground, including 10 “tools” that administrators can use to comply with the law and serve students appropriately when they display challenging, disruptive or violent behavior.  Restraint is not one of the 10 tools, but it is something that has to be discussed in this context.

Whether you attend a Toolbox training or not, this DCL is worth your study.   The DCL was issued on December 28, 2016. We found it at 69 IDELR 80.



Tomorrow: Denton ISD hires a five-year old????