Kentucky School Leader - Spring/Summer 2013 - (Page 12)
Use of Restraint
By: David Wickersham, Assistant General Counsel
Kentucky Department of Education
(Editor’s Note: This article contains excerpts from documents available
from the Kentucky Department of Education regarding the recently
adopted regulation on restraint and seclusion of students. The complete documents are available online at www.education.ky.gov.)
In 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) began collecting information for Congress on the use of restraints, seclusion and
aversives in public schools. The GAO report detailed serious instances
of abuse of restraint and seclusion, some of which resulted in students’
deaths. The Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, followed the GAO
report with a letter to states requesting Chief State School Officers
review state policies and guidance on restraints and seclusion in schools
and then develop or revise their state policies and guidelines, if needed.
The Kentucky Commissioner of Education wrote to local superintendents and forwarded Secretary Duncan’s reference to the use of
positive behavior interventions and supports as a means to prevent
aggressive behavior. The Council for Children with Behavior Disorders
(CCBD) position papers on the use of restraint and seclusion in school
settings were also sent to the superintendents.
In 2011, while monitoring developments at the federal level, the
Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) became increasingly concerned about reports of the use of restraint and seclusion in Kentucky
schools. In August 2012, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) origi-
704 KAR 7:160 is designed
to enhance safety for both
students and staff.
nally approved 704 KAR 7:160. After the required comment period
and public hearing, the KBE accepted KDE’s proposed changes and
approved the regulation on Oct. 3, 2012. Use of Restraint and Seclusion
in Public Schools went into effect on Feb. 1, 2013.
Prior to this action, Kentucky had no regulation on the use of physical
restraint or seclusion in public schools. 704 KAR 7:160 is designed to
enhance safety for both students and staff by limiting the use of physical restraint and seclusion, training teachers on more effective ways
to improve student behavior, and training teachers on how to safely
conduct restraints when absolutely necessary.
a. The student’s behavior poses an imminent danger of physical harm to self or to others and as permitted under KRS
503.050, 503.070 and 503.110;
b. The physical restraint does not interfere with the student’s
The regulation supports a positive approach to behavior that focuses
on a school-wide systematic methodology that embeds evidencebased practices and data-driven decision-making to create a school
environment conducive to learning. The implementation of school-wide
positive behavioral supports will improve school climate and culture in
order to achieve better academic and social outcomes, encompass a
range of systemic and individualized positive strategies and to reinforce
desired behaviors, diminish reoccurrence of inappropriate or dangerous
behaviors and teach appropriate behaviors to students.
ability to communicate in the student’s primary language
or mode of communication, unless the student uses sign
language or an augmentative mode of communication as the
student’s primary mode of communication and the implementer determines that freedom of the student’s hands for
brief periods during the physical restraint appears likely to
result in physical harm to self or others;
c. The student’s physical and psychological well-being is monitored for the duration of the physical restraint;
12 • Kentucky School Leader Spring | Summer 2013
Limits on the Use of Restraint
Physical restraint may only be implemented in a
public school or educational program if:
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