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The Massachusetts Department of Education (DESE) has proposed updates to the regulations on restraint and seclusion.

The proposed updates are here: http://www.doe.mass.edu/boe/docs/2014-09/item6.html

Public comment is only open until November 3.

Comments can be submitted to: restraintcomment@doe.mass.edu or mailed to: DESE c/o legal department 75 Pleasant Street Malden, MA 02148-4906

Sample comments from discipline regulation updates. Gives a good example of how to make comments and what kind of response you can expect: http://www.doe.mass.edu/boe/docs/2014-04/item6-comment.pdf

Suggestions and evidence for comments Edit

Large collection of related documents to use for evidence is here: http://specialeducation.wikia.com/wiki/SPED-Restraint-Resources

Talking points to make (work in progress, feel free to edit and updates as needed, there's room for a range of positions):

Ban on prone restraints Edit

Short version:
Thank you for including a ban on prone restraints in the proposed regulations. This ban is critical for the safety of children as documented in the medical literature and elsewhere. Aside from the added risk of death, the emotional impact on the child and family of prone restraints is devastating and long lasting. I urge you to preserve this restriction.

Longer version with citations:
Prone-restraints

Defining timeout and restraint Edit

Short version:
Physical restraint must include any contact which restricts a child's movement or uses force, whether the student resists or not. Please remove the text "against the student's resistance" from section 46.02. Exceptions should not include "transport, "redirecting attention" or anything else. They are all restraint if they restrict movement or use force and should only be used as a last resort.

Maximum duration of time-out should be five minutes not thirty for elementary age children and ten minutes for all others. Time-out spaces must conform to all building codes for occupied spaces.

To clarify that time out is only to promote calming, add two sentences to the definition of time-out: "Repeated separation of students, two or more times, which does not have a calming effect is not considered time-out and shall not be used. When the child's parents or the child's treating physician or the child's psychologist confirm in writing that time-out does not have a calming effect, time-out shall not be used".

Long version with citations:
Definitions

Reviews and Reporting Edit

Short version:
Use of time-out must be reviewed with parents and reported on for it to be effective. Repeated use of time-out which does not help the student become calm should not be used. All data on restraints and time-outs should be sent to the state at least four times during the school year. Repeated (two or more) restraints should trigger a functional behavioral assessment.

Long version with citations:
Reporting

Consent Edit

Short version: Restraint or time out should not be used when a child's treating physician or psychologist determines that it is harmful to the child's physical or mental health.

Long version with citations:
Consent

Sample letters Edit

To email lists
To parents
To friends and family
To DESE

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