MIRS, December 12, 2006
After nearly two years of study, public comments and four
drafts, and further fine-tuning of the policies today, the State
Board of Education unanimously adopted state standards to guide
schools in the emergency use of seclusion and restraint of
Until today's action, the State Board of Education has had no
policy or definition relating to this issue. The vote was 7-0.
Board member Elizabeth BAUER, who has been adamantly opposed to
the use of seclusion in schools, is in Serbia, working with its
school system on the same issue.
Board member Reginald TURNER said that seclusion and restraint
are being used in the schools today and that people are crying
out for guidelines that protect students. “This policy is not to
encourage seclusion and restraint but to limit its usage in our
schools,” Turner said.
Today's discussion centered more on the training of
schoolteachers and personnel and accountability issues than the
use of seclusion and restraint itself.
Board members Eileen WEISER and Nancy DANHOF said they couldn't
vote in favor of the guidelines unless there was some assurance
that proper training in the use of seclusion and restraint was
“I can't vote to put this out in the field without Positive
Behavioral Support training,” Weiser said.
Danhof had a problem with the use of emergency restraint by
personnel who are not properly trained.
Turner acknowledged that training is the second component of the
issue, but argued that the policy outlining the use of seclusion
and restraint should not be put on hold because “we can't ensure
everyone be trained.” Turner added that the Board is going to
have to work very closely with the Legislature to make sure
resources are available for training procedures.
Weiser was successful in having added to the policy document a
requirement that within four months, the Department of Education
research and report to the Board the feasibility and timetable
for requiring Positive Behavioral Support training for all
Michigan teacher candidates in all teacher preparation
institutions as well as linking seclusion and restraint reports
to individual teacher license renewals.
The guidelines limit the use of seclusion and restraint only to
emergency situations; prohibit the use of prone restraint, bans
any kind of restraint that restricts breathing; prohibits the
use of seclusion for preschool children and limits the length of
time emergency seclusion can be used. Any emergency intervention
plan that requires the use of emergency seclusion must be
developed in partnership with the parent.
The Board also is calling for the required notification, record
keeping, and development of reports in all cases of seclusion
The guidelines, titled Supporting Student Behavior: Standards
for the Emergency Use of Seclusion and Restraint is available on
the State Board of Education Web site at:
In other action, the State Board approved state standards for
quality infant and toddler programs that provide the framework
for Michigan to improve its early childhood programs and
The first-ever state standards provide definitions of highest
quality programs for babies and toddlers when they are cared for
in child care centers and homes by adults other than their
parents. These standards build on the minimum requirements set
forth in state licensing rules.
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