Eye on Education

Read Some of the Comments on Ohio’s Draft Seclusion and Restraint Policy

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The Ohio Department of Education received more than 100 comments, letters and suggestions on how to improve a draft policy on seclusion and restraint in schools.

Those suggestions ranged from recommending that Ohio prohibit the use of seclusion rooms entirely to requesting that Ohio not regulate the use of seclusion and restraint in schools at all.

Ohio does not regulate the use of seclusion and restraint in schools now, but the Ohio Department of Education is working to develop a policy, and plans to include some of the suggestions submitted by Ohioans.

[Earlier story: Ohio School Leaders Say State Should Not Regulate Use of Seclusion, Restraint]

Many school administrators wrote in to complain that the draft seclusion and restraint policy is an unfunded mandate because it would cost them extra funds to train employees or perform functional behavior assessments on students who misbehave.

Other anonymous commenters wrote in to say the Ohio Department of Education should leave seclusion and restraint up to local control, letting schools decide how they should be used.

A group of superintendents from the Stark County area co-authored a letter that concludes Ohio doesn’t need a seclusion and restraint policy because those issues are already covered by the state’s law on corporal punishment.

Other commenters suggested that the policy shouldn’t just apply to public schools, but also to charter schools and private schools that accept vouchers.

Mary Kirk, the mother of an autistic child, wrote in to say her child needs seclusion and restraint.

Myra Tanksley, the parent of a child who has been secluded, wrote to say she would like to see more requirements for training staff.

Several advocacy groups, including Disability Rights Ohio, wrote that say seclusion rooms should not be allowed in Ohio schools at all.


  • Daniel Wittler

    As a Parent and a Martial Arts teacher that has a 95% student body consisting of ages 4-16, I think that the teachers and staff don’t have enough power as it is. I agree thre should be limitations as to what can be done. But if you take away the last of the little power staff has, what is this telling the kids. There are simple things staff can do to restrain the child (remember I have been teaching Martial Arts for many years, training for 20) without hurting them in any way shape or form. I personally think passing this bill would be a HUGE mistake.

    • Dawn

      Mr. Wittler,
      As a mother of a child on the autism spectrum who experienced seclusion and physical restraints in first grade which may not have left physical marks (and it sounds like as a martial arts instructor you clearly know how to do this as well), I can assure you that his experiences did instill a great deal of fear and, for awhile, wiped out the trust he had held for a number of the adults in his school.

      Might I suggest that power grounded in physical force and blind adherence to authority is neither wise nor effective. As Gandhi said, “Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.”

      When adults–teachers, parents, administrators, martial arts instructors, etc.–undertake the hard but necessary and very human work of understanding that ALL behavior is communication and work to address skill deficits and unsolved problems that underlie challenging behaviors, when they use POSITIVE behavior intervention strategies, good things can happen. And I have, in the past year, been witness to this difference in approach on my son’s success both academically and emotionally.

      I understand and appreciate that your martial arts training is clearly very important to you, and I am not intending to disrespect the value of the martial arts. I am most familiar with Aikido and can appreciate this discipline’s particular philosophical bent towards peace and nonviolence.

      Please understand, though, that from what I have seen and experienced in the public schools, this bill would serve not only the children but also parents, teachers, and administrators whose responsibility it is to protect, educate, and prepare ALL children for the rigors of life.

      My son, by the way, was the first to forgive those who had–intentionally or not–done harm to him. Forgiveness is also more powerful than punishment.

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