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New York: New rules for restraining, secluding students

July 18, 2023, SI Live, NY: New York approves new rules banning seclusion, restraint of students in schools across the state

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — New York State has approved new regulations that would prohibit school staff from restraining a student face down or leaving a student secluded in a room that they cannot leave.

The state Board of Regents unanimously approved an amendment to expand beyond its prohibition of corporal punishment and aversive interventions to also prohibit seclusion and prone restraint. It clarifies that corporal punishment is banned in all schools in the state.

The amendment comes after the Albany Times Union reported last fall the results of a years-long investigation into the use of timeout, seclusion and restraint in New York schools — highlighting the extensive use of restraint and seclusion, sometimes more than a thousand times per year….

It bans prone restraints, which are physical or mechanical restraints while a student is in the face-down position — and seclusion, which is the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or space that they are physically prevented from leaving or they may perceive that they cannot leave at will. … There is limited authorization of physical restraint, timeout, physical escort, a multi-tiered system of supports and de-escalation — though there are restrictions and rules on when timeout and physical restraint can be used….

Schools will also be required to notify parents or guardians on the same day as an incident and maintain documentation of each incident. Schools will also provide training to staff and adopt a written policy that establishes administrative practices and procedures regarding the use of timeout and physical restraint.

Additionally, starting in the 2024-2025 school year, New York will align its reporting to the federal Civil Rights Data Collection report and use the State Education Department’s Student Information Repository System (SIRS) to submit annual student-level data related to corporal punishment, aversive interventions, seclusion, timeout and physical restraint.


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