Teacher Bully: All Schools in United States

TEACHER BULLY: All Schools in the United States
October 28, 2022

Is it equal for special education students? Disabled students face a lot of challenges. Bullying, timeout, seclusion, and restraint.

What’s in the news?

October 27, 2022.
What are restraint and seclusion? 5 things to know about the controversial practices used in U.S. schools
by Connecticut Insider, Norwalk, CT. Hearst.

What’s the story?

Hearst’s CT Insider answers five questions about seclusion and restraint. This is part of a national investigation: “When Schools Use Force”.

DEFINITION AND USE.
Many parents and teachers are unaware.
Restraint is meant to keep students from hurting themselves and others, often the disabled, to immobilize them. There is an illustration and description of how restraints are done.
Seclusion is locking a student in a room, as defined in the Keeping All Students Safe Act. Bathrooms and closets are used, too. Any school employee can be used by any school staff member.

NUMBER PER YEAR.
More than 100,000 experience restraint and seclusion.
Counts are not precise.
Federal data shows restraint and seclusion are used at least 2,300 per school day, and affects up to 102,000 students per school year. At least 417,693 instances were recorded in the 2017-2018 school year.
The United States Department of Education data has a flaw: thousands of schools decline to report their numbers, and more report zero cases.
38 states collect data.

CHILDREN ARE HARMED ROUTINELY. SOME DIE.
The United States regulates restraint and seclusion (locked confinement as defined by Keeping All Students Safe Act because timeout is defined as a non-locked setting). in hospitals.
Students and staff members are injured. During 2019-2020 school year, children were injured 1,062 times.
Only 7 states track injuries.
Restraint and seclusion causes emotional trauma, according to experts.
PERSONAL NOTE: Timeout, the non-locked version of seclusion, causes trauma, too, based on personal experience.
In rare cases, children die from these interventions.
Hearst Newspapers found that at least 85 children and others under tha age of 21 died from these experiences in public and private schools, juvenile centers, residential facilities, and other places that cater to the disabled since 1989.
More teachers are harmed than students. The illustration in the story shows that at least two adults participate in restraining students. The data is based on 4 states. So, obviously, more adults are injured because it is often 2 or more adults against 1 child. Keep in mind that the data is for under 21, so students may be bigger than teachers.

DISPROPORTIONATE USE.
Accountability and oversight are lacking.
Some students are held in restraint or secluded for hours at a time, and it is used as a form of discipline.
Untrained staff members perform the interventions, and state laws are routinely violated (which may explain the lack of reporting).
State and federal data shows that disabled students, Black students, and boys face these more than others. Most tend to happen to elementary school students, including preschoolers as young as 3 years old.
Communication is an issue for younger students and the disabled, according to advocate
Federal investigators in recent years found system discrimination and violation of student civil rights.
Teachers are overwhelmed and undertrained, and these things have contributed to the reduction or elimination of restraint and seclusion in a few districts.

NO FEDERAL REGULATIONS AND DIFFERENT STATE LAWS.
No federal regulation, although hospitals, psychiatric facilities and nursing homes, are regulated.
Four states have no law.
The others states differ on definition, circumstances and parental notification, and data.
A coalition of 17 state attorneys general wrote to Congress in 2021 that their is lack of oversight and accountability.
Some experts and educators fear the increased use due to the mental health crisis fueled by the pandemic.

Included in the story?

No. This is a summary of a series of reports by Hearst Newspapers.

COMMENTARY:

Is this the Least Restrictive Environment?

A small minority of students face seclusion and restraint. The largest group to face it are special education students.

What needs to change?

As I discuss in podcast episode 102 Solitary Confinement, the following need to change in the Keeping All Students Safe Act:
1. Include timeout, which is defined as a non-locked setting for “behavior” in the definition. It is excluded from the bill.
2. Criminalize timeout, restraint and seclusion.

This is an example of why:

Seclusion and restraint, as well as timeout, must be criminalized.