AASA Releases Second Report: How Seclusion and Restraint Protects Students and School Personnel

AASA just issued a second report entitled How Seclusion and Restraint Protects Students and School Personnel.  AASA’s report was written to denounce proposed Senate bill §2020 which would bar the use of seclusion and disallow the use of restraint as part of a student’s treatment plan.

AASA’s report supports keeping rules regarding the treatment and behavior management of students in the hands of schools, not the Federal government.  AASA’s position is supported by the Supreme Court decision in Youngberg, Cantor v Harris and other settled law which places the responsibility for making restraint policy and choosing training entirely in the hands of the schools and professionals with direct responsibility for the students.

See also, St. Catherine’s Care Center of Findlay v. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Decision No. Cr1190 holding that the crisis intervention program in place at the school must meet the real needs of the school and “neither federal reimbursement practices nor state screening practices relieves the [school] of its responsibility to provide its [students] with necessary care and services.”)

The AASA also opined

  • that the proposed bill §2020 would lead to a greater number of students with severe emotional and behavioral disabilities being educated exclusively in segregated non-public settings.
  • that the proposed bill §2020 will cost money to implement and is unfunded.
  • that the overwhelming majority of school personnel are acting to protect students when employing seclusion and restraint interventions.
  • §2020 fundamentally undermines local control.
  • Research demonstrates that restraints implemented as part of a comprehensive intervention plan can decrease the frequency of dangerous behavior and is an effective form of treatment.

AASA’s Report then references a number of premier institutions using restraint in treatment plans including:

  • the neurobehavioral unit at Kennedy Krieger School Programs Institute of John Hopkins University, perhaps the pre-eminent acute behavioral treatment facility in the world, incorporates the use of contingent restraint into its programs to treat individuals with significant behavioral problems.
  • The Association for Behavior Analysis International, the principal international member association of behavior analysts, supports the use of contingent restraint.   In fact, the ABAI maintains that “when used in the context of a behavior intervention plan, restraint in some cases serves both a protective and a therapeutic function.”  According to the ABAI, “restraint procedures can reduce risks of injury and can facilitate learning opportunities that support appropriate behavior.”