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Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Aims to Better Protect Students from Restraint & Seclusion

Recently, Disability Scoop reported that the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s plan to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The new bill includes an amendment that will require states to create and implement policies to prevent “any physical restraint or seclusion imposed solely for purposes of discipline or convenience.” This is monumental since not all states have policies for restraint and seclusion. According to a recent report from The Autism National Committee, 22 states have laws regulating educators’ use of restraint and seclusion, while 34 states have specific regulations for students with special needs. The senator who proposed the amendment, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., did so because restraint and seclusion negatively affects students and is not a best practice for helping to change a student’s behavior.

“Instead of using these ineffective methods to change a child’s behavior, we should be developing support services for schools and educators that care for kids in a compassionate way, and I’m relieved that my colleagues agree,” said Senator Murphy according to the report. “This is a big step forward towards improvement and accountability in our schools, and will ensure that all students receive the positive support they need to reach their full potential.”

Many school districts are following Senator Murphy’s lead and are implementing positive intervention strategies to help change student behavior. One of the most effective of these is Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS). Also knows as “School-wide Positive Behavior Supports” or SWPBS, PBIS focuses on integrating evidence-based intervention strategies in a systematic process of supports to improve both academic and social behavior outcomes for students. These supports include, but are not limited to, data-based decision-making, continuously monitoring student behavior and regular universal screening. However, maintaining such a structured program can be difficult for districts experiencing a shortage of qualified behavioral interventionists and mental health professionals.
PresenceLearning’s online behavioral and mental health services provide schools experiencing these shortages with access to highly qualified resources to develop and monitor behavior intervention plans, perform regular evaluations, and report the student’s behavior and success back to team members. Additionally, PresenceLearning’s SPEDinsight administrator dashboard keeps track of all progress on students IEP goals and any upcoming IEP meetings, making it easy to make intervention decisions based on data.

To read Disability Scoop’s full coverage of the amendment, click here. To learn more about the effectiveness of PresenceLearning’s online behavioral and mental health services, download the eBook “5 New Ways to Tackle Tough Challenges in Behavioral and Mental Health Services” for free here.

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