Virginia: New restraint/seclusion rules for SPED kids

May 13, 2019, Williamsburg Yorktown (VA) Daily: New regulations on restraint and seclusion to provide safer environment for students Parents and students can breathe a sigh of relief as new seclusion and restraint regulations are being considered by the Virginia Board of Education. Prior to 2009, the use of restraint and seclusion had not been regulated in schools and led to the abuse of many disabled students, according to the National Autism Association. Parents like Dina Kimmel found themselves horrified by the treatment of these students in the classroom but new proposed regulations in Virginia will hopefully make a change. “It is terrible that our kids have been so abused in the school system because of the lack of diagnosis or not understanding,” Kimmel, chief executive officer of We Rock the Spectrum, said. “An educator thinking it’s okay to do that because it’s the only way to get control of them, it’s sad.” We Rock the Spectrum is a sensory gym franchise, with a location in Williamsburg, that provides a space for children with sensory processing disorders to have a place to play, according to the organization’s website. In 2015, the Virginia Assembly approved two bills in relation to the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools, said Charles Pyle, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Education. Since 2015, the regulations have gone through two of the three-part regulatoryprocesses and will now enter the final stage of that process. The legislation requires that public schools in Virginia maintain guidelines regarding restraint and seclusion that are consistent with federal guidelines for managing student behavior in emergency situations and the 15 principles outlined by the U.S. Department of Education’s restraint and seclusion document. … School divisions are not required to use seclusion or restraint but if they choose to do so, they would have to follow the new regulations. The legislation comes after a 2009 investigation from the U.S. Government Accountability Office that found there were no federal laws in place to keep educators from using restraint and seclusion in abusive methods, according to the NAA. That study found children, and especially those with disabilities, were being restrained and secluded in public schools and in some cases so much so that it resulted in injury or death. In the study, nine out of 10 cases involved a student with disabilities such as autism, post traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.