Ohio

Eye on Education

State Board of Education Approves Seclusion and Restraint Policy

Ida Lieszkovszky / StateImpact Ohio

Brendon Spencer, shown here at home, used to be secluded on a regular basis at his old elementary school.

Ohio schools now have a set of guidelines to follow when it comes to their use of seclusion rooms and restraints.

The state Board of Education passed a policy regulating seclusion and restraint at their board meeting today by a 12-4 vote.

Seclusion rooms are small rooms used to isolate students. 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.

The policy has been in the works for several years.

“It certainly gives some structure and some guidelines on how they can use seclusion rooms and use restraint within their school district,” Ohio Department of Education spokesman John Charlton says about the policy. “I think in the past there’s been a lack of policy, and lack of guidance provided.

The policy says schools should notify parents if their children are secluded or restrained, and schools should note the event in a child’s file.

The Department of Education can request that data, but it won’t be public.

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.

You can read the entire policy below.

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