Friday, August 7, 2009

Seclusion and Restraints - Part II

On Monday,
Arne Duncan, the secretary of the U. S. Department of Education sent a letter to the heads of the state Departments of Education instructing them to review their state policies on seclusion and restraint in view of the alarming May 19th GAO report and the subsequent Congressional hearings. The letter also favorably mentions the use of Posit

George Miller and Arne Duncan talkImage by House Committee on Education and Labor via Flickr

ive Behavior Interventions and Supports as a strategy. In addition, the letter advises the state heads that they will be contacted by August 15th by federal Department of Education staff and that they

should be ready to discuss their state policies on these topics. The press release accompanying the Secretary's letter may be found here. The letter itself can be found here.

It will be interesting to see if this inquiry by the Secretary will lead to additional legislation concerning the abuse of seclusion and restraints, which are often employed for students with disabilities. These changes, if they occur, could involve the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or other possibly new statutes.

At present the IDEA only requires functional behavioral assessments and behavior intervention plans where there has been a manifestation determination resulting in a finding that the student's misbehavior is a manifestation of his disability. Section 615(k)(1)(F). The only reference to positive behavior supports is in the section on IEP development and requires the use of positive behavior interventions and supports, and other strategies, when the student's behavior impedes his own learning or the learning of others. Section 614(d)(3)(B)(i).

What do you think, will the provisions of IDEA be beefed up, or will there be another statute, or will nothing happen? Dust off those crystal balls, and get me your predictions.



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