Loudoun, VA: School uses restraint and seclusion on special needs kids

Mar 22, 2018, Leesburg, VA, Loudoun Times—Mirror: 'Tip of the iceberg'—Loudoun parents of students with special needs unite, bond over troubling treatment of their kids by some LCPS staff Concerned parents of special education students meet once a week to share stories including the use of seclusion and restraint against their students, a breakdown of communication with teachers and county staff and IEP processes that are so difficult they require advocates or lawyers. While parents stressed there are great teachers and administrators in LCPS, they are working to bring problems to light and hopefully find solutions. … The use of seclusion and restraint against special education students has captured the county’s attention since a recent Times-Mirror report, but parents say that is only the tip of the iceberg. Parents have met and spoken with each other about challenges, whether it’s restraint and seclusion being used on their child without proper notification, a lack of communication and transparency from the schools, a fight to get needed services or the need for advocates and lawyers for yearly procedures. … Four more parents have shared stories of LCPS using seclusion and restraint on their child without following county procedure that calls for alerting parents within 24 hours. However, the parents did not wish to speak on the record for fear of retaliation by their children’s schools. In addition to having to hire advocates and lawyers to help construct IEPs, some parents feel LCPS is less likely to negotiate and mediate than before, and they have to take the school system to court in order to get their children the services they feel are necessary. Special education attorney Grace Kim, who represents several Loudoun families, said she’s seen her Loudoun caseload grow in recent years. “Parents shouldn’t feel that we have to fight for much for our children to get the education they need. It shouldn’t have to be this difficult. The amount of money they spend on fighting us could be spent on actually improving the education system,” Skinner said.