Pressure : 29.86 in
Dewpoint : 43.0 °
Wind : Northwest
GIPS plans seclusion policy for special needs students
Two parents in Lincoln are suing Lincoln Public Schools for placing their autistic son in a room for unlimited hours. LPS has a policy to restrain special education students that misbehave and pose a threat to other students.
And Grand Island Public Schools could soon follow. They're implementing a seclusion and restraint policy.
Right now, Grand Island Public Schools have guidelines in place.
But, to back it up the Nebraska Department of Education advised them to establish a policy.
But the question is, how do parents feel about it?
"Seclusion would be a room that is safe and only used when others or the child themselves are in imminent danger," said Associate Superintendent Robin Dexter.
Dexter says they train staff to calm kids down through verbal questioning.
"That staff member who is trained would remove that student to a safe place and would stay and monitor that student so its not like they're shoved in a room and the door is shut and no one is checking on them, they would have a staff member there in a seclusion room," said Dexter.
Dexter says seclusion is rarely used and only implemented with trained staff.
"We use the mat training which helps people de-escalate kids through verbal questioning procedures," said Dexter.
Kira Tropp's son is autistic. She says placing him in a confined room didn't help him.
"There was a lot of aggression, a lot of hitting. Fall semester he was sent home quite a bit. The day that I went to pick him up he was picking paint off the wall," said Tropp.
Tropp says the lines of communication were not the greatest.
"I asked if he's sick why is he in there and they had just stated that it was because he was upset and hitting and pinching other people so he was put in there for timeout," Tropp said.
A room this size or even smaller is what students are placed in and most times there's nothing more than a chair and desk to sit at.
"It had a small window so you had to actually go up to the door to be able to look in and see what he was doing so even though there were staff right outside the door there weren't positioned necessarily where they could see what he was doing," said Tropp.
Even after she asked them to discontinue their form of disciplinary action, the school which Tropp chooses not to name proceeded to use their seclusion methods.
"They don't understand what's going on, they don't understand why they're in trouble or why they're even in there," Brandi Anderson said.
Brandi Anderson is also a mother of a child with Aspergers, another form of Autism.
"My concerns would be that it might be abused or not used correctly," Anderson said.
Both mothers say in any case, physical restraint and seclusion is not the answer.
"He's not sitting there thinking about oh this is what I did wrong, this is what I could have done better because he's not on that cognitive level that we know of," said Anderson.
The Grand Island seclusion policy goes to the board of education in September. The board will take two reads and then vote for final approval.
KHASTV on Facebook