Indiana Issues Guidelines on Restraint and Seclusion in Public Schools

A seclusion room as viewed through a camera monitoring system.

A seclusion room as viewed through a camera monitoring system.

by Gina Glaros -

New legislation aims to change a certain type of discipline for all students in the classroom.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, nearly 40,000 kids across the U.S. were either strapped down or isolated inside a classroom during the 2009-2010 school year.

Most of the students affected were special needs students.

Republican State Senator Randy Head initiated a bill that would require all schools in Indiana to develop seclusion and restraint policies that meet certain standards.

Kristi Cundiff has eight adopted children attending schools in the Wabash Valley, all have special needs.

For the Cundiff family, this legislation hits close to home.

“The charter school that my daughter was attending, it had an isolation room.  It was a room with one desk, blackboards, one teacher and that’s where she was left to learn…It wasn’t a real good environment for her,” Cundiff said.

The legislation would allow schools to develop their own policies as long as they meet certain standards.

Those standards require school staff to be trained in the appropriate use of restraints and isolation rooms and that it should be used as a last resort.

“When a child becomes a danger to themselves or others, then you can put a child in a therapeutic hold, until they calm down.   [Certainly,] we want to keep all children safe in the school system,” she said. Cundiff’s children have an individual education Program to help.

“Every child deserves to learn, and I think that if the administration, and the teacher, and the parents can work together and develop the individual education plans, and the behavioral intervention plans and work together and follow those plans, it can eliminate a lot of issues.”

The bill was scheduled for a committee hearing Tuesday but was postponed.

The legislation would apply to public, charter and private schools.

Some private and charter schools are lobbying to be excluded.

Read more at Proposal would reduce school restraints.

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