May 21, 2009

GAO report on child restraint, abuse, and death

Anyone who has children or has worked in schools should be sobered by this week's GAO report on the use of restraint tactics with children with behavior problems, especially children receiving special education services. There are summaries of the report in articles appearing in USA Today and the Palm Beach Post, and Charles Barone is correct in pointing to the statement of one advocate (from an organization I can disagree with strenuously on some other things), that positive behavior support is not rocket science. (If I remember the 2004 IDEA reauthorization correctly, it's been a requirement of federal special education law in many circumstances for 5 years.)

I have had plenty of friends and relatives who taught in schools with tough behavior, including one school with enough behavior problems that there was a team trained to respond to situations where a student was violent. Not verbal behavior or "acting out" but throwing-chairs-and-punching violent. I don't recall ever hearing from any of them about metal handcuffs, or the types of dangerous holds/positions described in the GAO report. Maybe I'm naive, but I don't think it is impossible to draft appropriate professional standards for how to address dangerous behavior by students with or without disabilities.

So is this how we get some agreement on the need for national standards?

Listen to this article
Posted in on May 21, 2009 7:47 AM |