The State Board of Education gave final approval Thursday to update rules governing the use of restraints and time-out rooms school kids. The changes prohibit the restraining of a child in a way that would restrict their air flow.
They also limits how long a student can be placed in a time-out room. Department of Education attorney, Carol Greta, says the rules hadn’t been revised since 1991. "Well let’s face it there was a vacuum in the rules before and now we’ve filled it with a requirement for documentation and notification and training and that will help everybody educators, students and their families," Greta says.
Greta says the new rules say a student can be in the time-out room for an hour, and then an administrator must determine if the child is still at risk of harming him or herself, or another student. The old rule didn’t have a time limit.
Greta says, "It’s a last resort of course but when you have to use it you need some guidelines. So we put some time limits on it, we’ve required the parents be notified the very day with a follow up in writing, we’ve required there be a debriefing with the parents, the student, and the teacher."
Greta says the debriefing is expected to be a help. She says the parents, teachers and administrators can sit down and discuss what led to the problem, so it may not be needed again. Greta says the new rules do not apply to a normal detention or stay in the principal’s office. The changes will take effect on January 21st.