Board Policy Seclusion or Restraint of Students
Descriptor Code: JGF (2)
The Effingham County Board of Education shall require that all schools and programs within the district comply with State Board of Education Rule 160-5-1.35 concerning “seclusion” and “restraint”, as those terms are defined within the rule.
This policy is not intended to prevent the use of physical restraint in limited circumstances where a student exhibits behaviors that place the student or others in imminent danger and the student is not responsive to verbal directives or less intensive de-escalation techniques. The Effingham County Board of Education recognizes that in determining when and how to implement this policy and any procedures related to it, educators will have to exercise their professional judgment and discretion. Therefore, the policy is not to be construed as imposing ministerial duties on individual employees. Further, it is not intended to interfere with the duties of law enforcement or emergency medical personnel.
For schools and programs within the district that use physical restraint as defined within the SBOE rule, the Superintendent or designee shall develop and implement written procedures governing its use, which shall include the following provisions:
Staff and faculty training on the use of physical restraint;
Written parental notification within a reasonable time, not to exceed one school day from the use of restraint, when physical restraint is used to restrain a student;
Documentation by staff or faculty participating in or supervising the restraint for each student in each instance in which the student is restrained;
Periodic review of the use of restraint and the documentation described in item 4.
After a month of deliberation and public comment, the Effingham County Board of Education adopted a seclusion and restraint policy that will limit the already rare use of physical restraint in schools and formalize training for faculty and staff.
“Typically, and thank goodness, we don’t have to do this very often,” said Cindy Knight, assistant coordinator for exceptional children, speaking on behalf of the school system. “Restraint would be like the very last resort.”
Procedures for such incidents have been in place, however, the state Board of Education mandated all school districts to update and pass a policy to restrict the use of restraining students to only cases where the child and others are in imminent danger and eliminate the use of seclusion rooms. Passed this summer, the state rule was a reaction to the death of a student at a school for students with emotional and behavioral problems who hanged himself after being left in a seclusion room.
For the complete story, see Friday's edition of the Effingham Herald.