Ohio Education Board OK’s Seclusion Room Policy

A seclusion room used in a program for children with emotional disturbances in the Logan-Hocking school district has padding on the floor and in a corner.(Photo: Courtney Hergesheimer, The Columbus Dispatch)
A seclusion room used in a program for children with emotional disturbances in the Logan-Hocking school district has padding on the floor and in a corner.(Photo: Courtney Hergesheimer, The Columbus Dispatch)

Ohio schools’ now have a set of guidelines to follow when it comes to their use of seclusion rooms and restraints. The State Board of Education passed a policy regulating seclusion and restraint at their board meeting Tuesday.

Seclusion rooms are small rooms used to isolate students, and restraints are when a student is held down in some way. They’re supposed to be reserved for students who pose a physical threat, but an investigation by StateImpact Ohio and The Columbus Dispatch found they are often used to punish students who misbehave.

The policy says schools should notify parents if their child is secluded or restrained, and schools should note the event in a child’s file. The Department of Education can request that data, but it won’t be open to the public.

The new policy tries to standardize the use of restrictive measures. “It certainly gives some structure and some guidelines on how they can use seclusion rooms and use restraint within their school district,” said Ohio  Department of Education spokesman John Charlton.

The policy is non-binding, though the board will consider a set of regulations in the spring that schools would have to follow.

Comments