When I read that a six-year-old has been taken from a school in handcuffs by police, as a former special ed teacher, I want to take every administrator in the building from the school in handcuffs by police and let them stay in jail for a couple of days not knowing what is going to happen just to give them a taste of the trauma imposed on that child.
I realize that behavior can be exceedingly disruptive and that is why it is so important for the parents and advocates of a child who has had disruptive and /or negative behaviors to be particularly vigilant as to how those incidents are being handled by the school. Has there been an FBA (functional behavior analysis) done by a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst)? Please be aware that no matter what the LEA says, no teacher can teach and take reasonable behavior data at the same time. Is there a plan for positive intervention? Are there guidelines for an emergency that are clear? Are they incorporated into the IEP? Remember if it is not part of the IEP there is no chance for compliance.
Make sure that all incidents that result in discipline or removal from school are documented. Although special ed comprises only about 12% of the school population, it is 66% of the seclusion incidents and 71% of the restraint incidents. When the school calls and says come get your child, we cannot handle them- it is a suspension. Remember, they cannot suspend a child for a manifestation of their disability.
United States Government Accountability Office. (2009). Seclusions and restraints: Selected cases of death and abuse at public and private schools and treatment centers. Retrieved from http://www.gao.gov/assets/130/122526.pdf
U.S. Department of Education. (2010). Summary of seclusion and restraint statutes, regulations, policies and guidance, by state and territory: Information as reported to the regional comprehensive centers and gathered from other sources. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/policy/seclusion/summary-by-state.pdf
U.S. Department of Education. (2012). Restraint and seclusion: Resource document. Retrieved
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Marie Lewis is an author, consultant, and national speaker on best practices in education advocacy. She is a parent of 3 children and a Disability Case Manager, Board Certified Education Advocate, and Behavior Specialist Consultant. She has assisted in the development of thousands of IEPs nationally and consults on developing appropriately individualized IEPs that are outcome-based vs legally sufficient. She brings a great depth of expertise, practical experience, and compassion to her work as well as expert insight, vision, and systemic thinking. She is passionate and funny and she always inspires and informs.
MJ Gore has an MEd in counseling and a degree in elementary education and natural sciences. She worked as a life-skills and learning support teacher She has been honored with the receipt of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. She is the Director and on the faculty at the National Special Education Advocacy Institute. Her passion is social justice, especially in the area of education. She is a Board Certified Education Advocate who teaches professional advocates, educators, and clinicians the best practices in education advocacy.
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