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Bangor, ME: National leader in restraint/seclusion of SPED students

May 10, 2019, Bangor Daily News: This Bangor school secludes and restrains kids more than almost any other in Maine Kyle Michaud took a job as an education technician at the Bangor Regional Program in May 2016 thinking it would help him become a teacher. But he didn’t expect to spend so much time dragging students down the hallway and shutting them into small rooms…. Michaud took part in hundreds of such student restraints — when he and colleagues would restrict a student’s movement in some way — in the nearly two years he worked at the Bangor Regional Program, where 22 Bangor-area school districts send students with intensive special needs, most commonly autism. … But at the Bangor Regional Program, staff members still make regular use of the practices, at some of the highest rates in the state — with administrators defending them because they’re legal. … … During seclusion, staff place a student alone in a room against their will. At the Bangor Regional Program, staff members have used those emergency interventions more than 1,200 times each year in the past three school years, according to data the program is required to report to the state Department of Education. In one year, staff members placed every single student in seclusion at least once and restrained all but one student. The number of restraints and seclusions worked out to at least 20 per student for all three years and almost 50 per student in one year, according to records the Bangor Daily News obtained through a public records request. … The elementary school has two seclusion rooms in addition to classrooms, and the high school trailer is split into four small learning spaces. In the main building, all classrooms have an attached overflow space, where Babin said staff members move students when they become agitated. One of the classrooms leads to the library, which consists of bookshelves on opposite walls and no other furniture. In the center of the building, there is a room with weighted blankets to help with students’ anxiety and bean bag chairs…. The next school year, 2015-16 — the first for which there are reliable data — staff secluded every one of the 27 enrolled students at least once and restrained all but one student. The number of restraints and seclusions used that year worked out to nearly 50 per student…. Even outside of the Bangor Regional Program and schools like it that serve students with disabilities, data compiled by Jones show Maine schools use restraints and seclusion at a rate that’s 12 times the national average. … “These are dangerous practices, and they’re happening a lot,” Jones said. “These numbers are disheartening. We now have six years of data, and the use has gone up every single year.”…

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