HD2 - Study of Seclusion and Restraint in Schools

Executive Summary:
During the 2014 General Assembly Session, Delegate Patrick Hope introduced House Bill 1106. The legislation, as adopted, directed the Commission on Youth, in consultation with the Department of Education and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, to review (i) statewide policies and regulations related to seclusion and restraint in public and private elementary and secondary schools; and (ii) methods used in other states to reduce and eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint in public and private elementary and secondary schools. The Commission is to make recommendations and report its findings to the General Assembly no later than the first day of the 2015 Regular Session of the General Assembly. A copy of the legislation is included as Appendix A.

An update on the study activities and draft recommendations was reported at the Commission’s September 16th and October 20th meetings. At its November 17, 2014 meeting, the Commission on Youth approved the following recommendations:

1. Request that the Governor finalize Virginia’s Proposed Regulations Governing the Operation of Private Day Schools for Students with Disabilities.

2. Introduce legislation requiring the Virginia Board of Education to promulgate regulations on the use of seclusion and restraint in Virginia’s public schools. These regulations will incorporate the 2009 Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Guidelines and the U.S. Department of Education’s 15 Principles on Seclusion & Restraint and address definitions, criteria for use, restrictions for use, training, notification requirements, reporting, and follow-up. The regulations will also address the diverse population of students in the public school setting including students in the general education and special education populations and distinctions between primary and secondary schools including the students’ emotional and physical developmental differences.

3. Support the Department of Criminal Justice Services efforts in training appropriate parties, including School Resource Officers and School Security Officers, in student development, de-escalation, and conflict mediation in the school setting.

4. Request the Virginia Department of Education support local school divisions by providing resources and training on research-based appropriate behavioral management, prevention, de-escalation techniques to reduce the use of seclusion and restraint.