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Iowa: State Board of Ed votes against changing restraint/seclusion laws

Aug 2, 2019, Iowa City (IA) Press Citizen: 'Nothing changed': Movement to change rules around seclusion rooms faces setback A movement to place more restrictions on how Iowa educators use seclusion rooms faced a setback Thursday. The Iowa State Board of Education voted against proposed changes to the portion of the Iowa Code governing how schools restrain and seclude students. The board will reconsider changing the code again this academic year, after holding regional meetings for more feedback in the fall. The changes were pushed by critics who argue that seclusion rooms are used in ways that are harmful and disproportionately affect students of color and students with disabilities. … …The proposed changes would have done the following: Explicitly ban the use of seclusion as a form of punishment or as a routine school safety measure. Require certain documentation when a child is secluded, which must be provided to parents within three school days. Require schools to provide a debriefing meeting with parents within five days after seclusion is used. Require seclusion rooms to be at least 7 by 7 feet with some means of visual monitoring. … Educators from across the state expressed concern that the rule changes would be overly burdensome to schools, students and parents. … "The biggest concern for me in all of this is conversation about what happens so far down the line with a student and their behavior," she said, adding that schools also need smaller class sizes, more special education paraeducators and counselors, more mental health support, and other measure that reduce the likelihood that a student needs to be restrained…. Since then, ICCSD has removed the installations of 6-by-6 padded boxes that garnered public outcry, but still has designated seclusion spaces on some campuses to accommodate some students' Individualized Education Programs. Following the state intervention, ICCSD's new special education leadership say the approach to seclusion rooms now is to bolster de-escalation tactics and behavioral intervention. The district is in the midst of a three-year process of introducing an increasingly popular approach to discipline called Positive Behavior Intervention Systems at each campus. The proposed changes presented to the state board include a requirement that employees are trained in the PBIS approach before they are allowed to restrain a child. …


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