The state Board of Education on Monday approved some changes to a new statewide policy regarding when and how students may be restrained in public schools. Board members unanimously backed the amended proposal in Frankfort during a regular meeting.
The proposal prohibits physical restraint of students except when a child’s behavior poses imminent danger of serious physical harm. It also requires that school staff receive training to help them identify situations considered serious enough for restraint and learn positive reinforcement methods.
About 75 people attended a public hearing in September to discuss the proposal, said Kevin Brown, general counsel for the Office of Guiding Support Services. Department of Education staff used their comments as well as written correspondence to make the changes, or, in many cases, to keep the proposal intact.
In responding to concerns that the regulation would hinder the staff’s ability to break up student fights, Brown emphasized that “most times a student fight is going to have that serious, imminent threat there.”
The amended proposal adds examples of behavior methods used in classrooms that are not considered physical restraint, such as verbal commands and redirecting students to promote safety.
It also adds a restriction on the restraint of students who use their hands to communicate, such as those who use sign language.