Overview of Laws governing Restraint and Seclusion
Handle With Care has been providing training for school staff on how to manage student populations from pre-k12 since 1985. There is generally a divide in schools between special education and general education with respect to behavior management and crisis intervention. The use of restraint in both general and special education are governed by 4 main bodies of law: Self Defense Laws: Federal, Constitutional and State laws protecting the right to defend self and others.  Ingram v. Wright (SCOTUS). The State does not have the right to limit a person’s right to defend themselves or another in any manner that is reasonable.  Bowers v. DeVit. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that the right to self-defense does not terminate when a teacher or student enters the schoolhouse gates. See also, Tinker v. Des Moines Ind. Community School Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 506 (1969) Tort/Common Law: Courts have held that schools act in the place of parents (in loco parentis).  As such, schools have a duty to maintain a safe environment conducive to education.  Along with this doctrine comes a duty to train staff to handle foreseeable circumstances. It is foreseeable that children will lose their tempers and may engage in inappropriate behavior like fighting and throwing objects.  There is a duty to train staff how to manage these foreseeable situations in a way that maintains a safe environment conducive to education. Treatment and Behavioral Plans (IEPs/BPs).  This is the duty to provide professional judgment in developing educational and treatment plans.  The Supreme Court has held that the professional duty rests exclusively with the professionals working directly with the [students]. Youngberg v. Romeo. 457 U.S. 307 (1982). In addition to the above, special education students have the additional Federal laws that must be complied with: Americans with Disability Act (ADA), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Rehabilitation Act Section 504 (504). The laws specific to special needs students protect their right not to be discriminated against because of their disability, and the right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) which includes IEPs.
A place in our hearts - what makes a hero?
I've been doing this for a long time. Forty years is long enough to become jaded and cynical if you allow the negative circumstances of your professional life to overtake you. I've been way too blessed and buoyant to just sink like that. I, for one, would rather swim. Every now and then you meet someone who shows you how. Bravery takes many forms. There are the obvious physical acts of bravery we've witnessed on the battlefield and by first responders chasing felons and fires for a living. There are also acts of bravery that occur every single day in agencies and schools just like yours that go largely unnoticed. Today, I found a hero while I was training folks in Albany. I doubt I will ever forget her. She is young, pretty and all of 100 lbs. although, if you weighed her heart it would be every bit of 95 pounds and another 5 pounds of smile. Like many of you, she is a teacher who works with a population of severely disturbed and extremely violent little ones.  The school's and her  first time being trained in HWC. The first thing I noticed behind her smile were her hands, which were utterly ravaged by bites, scratches and deep gouges. Some of her wounds were as fresh as yesterday and some were scars that, that like her smile, will likely never go away or fade from sight. I was told that she actually takes over whenever her co workers are performing a hold with one of their violent little children so that her co worker won't be subjected to the same painful injuries as she. I have never met anyone so visibly scared and yet so happy with her job and her young life. I am crying as I write this. She has no idea how deeply she affected me. I am using this space in our newsletter to give something back to her and others in the HWC family above and beyond a physical way of holding the children she loves that will keep her hands out of harm's way. HWC wants to give her and others recognition for their heroism and selflessness by dedicating a new "Inspirational" section on our HWC blog. We are asking you to nominate someone who you work with who you feel has shown an act (or acts) of true dedication, selflessness, love, inspiration or bravery in the field. Give us the person's name and a description of why you are making the nomination. A picture would be great, as long as your nominee gives us permission to publish it with his or her story. BC "Do Right And Fear No One"