The differences are often not as stark between classrooms with disabled students and those without. Many disabled students will spend at least half their time in a classroom without a teacher that has special training in teaching to students with disabilities and surrounded by other students. The issue at hand, however, is how teachers or administrators handle misbehavior from students who are stronger and less in control of their actions than others.
Currently, there is no requirement for reporting incidents that require restraining or secluding disabled students. However, the Department of Public Instruction has a current bill on the table that would change that. Parents came forward to report about their experiences where a teased or bullied child was the one pulled out of class or physically restrained because of their acting out.
In 2011 there was a significant change in that the restraining methods used in schools are only allowed or reasonable when the disabled person puts another’s safety at risk. However, when looking at very young children, that can happen often. ACT 125, which allows teachers and administrators to restrain children, is not the problem. Parents’ now only want transparency and clear reporting. The concern is that restraining or secluding children is happening far more often than it should and that no one would ever know the frequency because there’s no requirement for documenting the incident.
The bill in place not only pushes responsibility for tracking these incidents onto the DPI, but there are other measures on it as well. Teachers or administrators would have to file a report and inform parents of the incident. The districts involved would need to provide training on calming techniques that don’t involve restraint. The bill had its first public hearing on November 19th with more to come.
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