Physical restraint seldom used in local schools


Only five incidents reported during 2012-2013 school year

The Crook County School District is comprised of approximately 3,000 students, and last school year, only three students required physical restraint to prevent injury to themselves or to others.

Two of the students had two “incidents,” one had only one. The Crook County School District (CCSD) is required to report these incidents annually, but does not disclose the students’ names or in which schools the incidents occurred.

None of the five incidents required seclusion of the students, an approved practice when a “cooling off” period is required. Neither was anyone, students or faculty, injured during the physical restraints.

Perhaps most importantly, none of the physical restraint incidents were carried out by untrained individuals, a fact that Mona Boyd, Director of Special Education with the CCSD, is proud of.

“We provide the CPI (Crisis Prevention Intervention) Training Program to teachers and administrators throughout the district. CPI includes training about behavior support, prevention, de-escalation, and crisis response techniques.”

The training is rigorous and certification must be renewed every 18 months. While Boyd would like to have every staff member trained in CPI, not everyone needs to be.

“We train many of our teachers and administrators every year but everybody does not need to be trained. We need a core trained response team in every school — which we have.”

If any of the five reported incidents had been handled by non-trained staff members, the CCSD would be responsible for both reporting that fact and detailing a plan to train the individuals in CPI.

“In an emergency a non-certified person can help because it’s all about preventing and de-escalating a potential harmful situation. But then we have to report it to the state and the parents and detail how we’re going to train that person,” said Boyd.

The CCSD has had a Physical Restraint and Seclusion Policy since 2007. It was revised and readopted in June of 2012 and is available on the district’s web site. CCSD’s policy is required by, and in line with, State regulations OAR 581-021-0553 and 581-021-0556.

The state regulations address safety in public education programs and prohibit the use of mechanical restraint, chemical restraint, or prone restraint on students. It does allow the use of physical restraint or seclusion under certain circumstances.

These include when the student’s behavior poses a reasonable threat of imminent, serious bodily injury to the student or others; and when less restrictive interventions would not be effective.

Both the State regulations and CCSD’s policy are very clear regarding restraint and seclusion. It may not be used for discipline, punishment, or for the convenience of personnel within the school. “CPI is all about de-escalation; it’s about prevention, only a small portion of CPI training has to do with restraint.”

Physical restraint and seclusion can only be used for as long as the student’s behavior poses a reasonable threat of imminent bodily injury to the student or others. And it needs to be administered by trained personnel who continuously monitor the student during the duration of the restraint or seclusion.

So, with approximately 3,000 students in the CCSD, why was the incident rate so low?

Mona Boyd is quick to credit the CCSD school psychologists, the teachers and administration, the school board, and Lutheran Community Services.

“We have two school psychologists who evaluate students and do a wonderful job. They work closely with the ‘WRAP’ teams that are created to literally wrap their arms around students who may be having problems.”

WRAP teams are assembled for students experiencing more intense health or emotional issues. The teams are brought together by a Care Coordinator from Lutheran Community Services (LCS) and can include the student, parents, teacher, a trusted mentor like a youth pastor, the Care Coordinator, and a counselor.

“The LCS Care Coordinator helps everyone see the big picture of the student’s world in order to figure out what's in the best interests of the child,” said Scott Willard, Director of Lutheran Community Services in Prineville.

“There is a tight connect between our special education teachers, our administrators, and the WRAP teams — this is really the key to the mental health of our kids,” said Boyd.

More students with disabilities are moving into the CCSD increasing the need for specialized education and behavioral plans. There are over 400 special education students in the CCSD this year.

“Last year we had more kids come into our community with ‘low incidence disabilities’ (cognitively impaired, autistic, orthopedically impaired, visually impaired, hearing impaired, etc.) And students with autism jumped from 13 last year to 20 this year, a huge jump for us,” added Boyd.

Despite the growing numbers of students Mona Boyd is confident that she has all the tools, resources, and support necessary to run the program efficiently.

“Currently we have enough resources to do what we need to do. The School Board and Superintendent are great about making sure we have everything that we need.”

When asked what she thinks parents need to know about CCSD’s physical restraint and seclusion policy she stated that “Parents should know that our chief goal is to make sure that every student and every staff member is safe.”