Stop seclusion and restraint in Ohio Schools

Stop seclusion and restraint in Ohio Schools

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Nicole Landers started this petition to Rob Portman and

1. Restraints and seclusion are traumatic, even life-altering for the child receiving them. These procedures can also negatively impact other students, teachers, staff, and of course, the kids’ parents. For those of you who have been following this issue, you will know that Ohio and the rest of the country has a problem with underreporting of the use of restraint and seclusion, as well as inappropriate use of these procedures.
2. The draft final regulations are not in alignment with the federal HR 7124 Keeping All Students Safe Act which will prohibit seclusion if/when it is passed. HR 7124 was introduced last year in the House and is expected to be introduced in Congress again this year, particularly considering the national attention on this issue.
3. These procedures are used disproportionately for students with disabilities and kids of color, just as suspension and expulsion are.
4. These procedures are not necessary. Five states have banned their use. Some localities in Ohio do not use them. Some that serve youth with the most severe challenges use no seclusion and rarely require restraint.

I began  looking at the training that is available for teachers and parents regarding children’s difficult behaviors. What I discovered was a combination of information straight from the National Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) National TA website and more current information based on the research about brain development and the impact of trauma on learning. The training does not make sense because it, like multiple informational documents on the PBIS website states unequivocally that students use their behaviors to get out of something or to get what they want. There is no mention of the fact that many, many of the disruptive behaviors are unconscious stress responses, that is fight, flight or freeze responses from a child who has an exceptionally low threshold to stress. The child’s automatic fight reaction may be hitting, spitting, pushing, shoving, defiance; his or her flight response may be withdrawing, running, hiding, screaming; his or her freeze response may be an inability to respond (mute), crying, falling, or giving up/giving in, giving the appearance of complying. With the PBIS approach, all behavior is treated as though it is voluntary. This completely misses the boat for a child that is constantly fearful, that has been exposed to trauma, is neuro-diverse or is developmentally immature and has not yet developed self-regulation in order to develop sufficient self-control. The child is now being blamed (because they had a fight response that their body initiated, or they froze and couldn’t get any words out when the teacher demanded an answer “right now”, or because they ran out of the room when the tone of the teacher’s voice reminded them of the person who hurt them. Now they are in trouble and their stress level goes up even further.

My plea with this petition is to require the schools to move from PBIS that treats all behavior as voluntary, which has been shown to be ineffective for kids with trauma, kids with ADHD and other neuro-diversities) and to enact harsher penalties for schools that fail to accurately report instances of restraint or seclusion.  I want to see clear steps being taken to help protect our children from these ineffective and abusive acts of restraint and seclusion.  I want to see all schools develop a plan to identify antecedent behavior so that appropriate supports can be implemented.  I want to see harsher penalties for schools that use restraint and seclusion excessively.  I want to see a zero tolerance policy for restraint and seclusion being used on any Elementary school child.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!