Ohio

Eye on Education

One in 25 Columbus School District Students with Disabilities Restrained or Secluded

A state review of records from Columbus, Ohio’s largest school district, has found that one in 25 students was restrained or secluded in one year, the Columbus Dispatch reports:

The new information about how often, where and why Columbus staff members have used physical means to try to control children with disabilities offers insight into the nature of kids’ behavioral problems and how school workers manage them.

“It really shows a district, in many places, that is out of control,” said Sue Tobin, the chief legal counsel for Disability Rights Ohio. She filed a complaint against the district with the Ohio Department of Education in November; the state review was in response to her complaint.

The investigators found that no child “spent what amounted to 10 school days in seclusion” and thus the district did not violate federal law regarding educating students with disabilities, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Seclusion rooms are enclosed spaces that are supposed to be used in emergencies for children who become violent.

But a joint investigation by the Columbus Dispatch and StateImpact Ohio found that the rooms are often misused. Children have been put in the rooms for throwing pencils or being rude to teachers.

The use of seclusion rooms is currently not regulated in Ohio schools.

This year, Ohio’s state Board of Education moved for the first time to regulate their use. The state board approved a model policy on the use of seclusion and restraint in January and is expected to approve binding rules on their use this spring. The new rules would take affect starting next school year.

Comments

  • NVAdvocate

    This is quite horrifying. The thing we have found in Nevada while working to remove old scream rooms (they have been outlawed here since 1999) is that many have no adequate air exchange, making them even more dangerous, and many are built without building permits and not to code. Besides the placement of children in these closets is a violation of US fire code.

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