MSDE To Take Active Measures Against Restraint, Seclusion In Public Schools

This follows its use in Frederick County Public Schools.

Baltimore, Md (KM) The Maryland State Department of Education says it will be doing a top-to-bottom review of existing regulations, policies and procedures to prevent the illegal use of restraints and seclusion against students. This follows a recent US Department of Justice report on the use of these procedures against in Frederick County Public Schools., specifically on students with disabilities who act up in class. . The US Attorneys’ Office for Maryland announced a settlement in December with Frederick County Public Schools to address the use of restraint and seclusion against students with disabilities under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

MSDE says it’s clear that local school systems have more work to do in order to make sure that all students are treated fairly and equitable across Maryland.

“The findings from the US Department of Justice are appalling and unacceptable. MSDE will not tolerate any discriminatory or illegal action against any student.  MSDE is reviewing its regulations, policies and monitoring processes to ensure that no local school system illegally restrains  of secludes a student,” says Mohammad Choudhury, State Superintendent of Schools, in a statement. “In all cases, restraint and seclusion should be a last resort, employed only in emergency circumstances. Given the potentially devastating physical and emotional impact of restraint and seclusion of student with disabilities and students of color, MSDE will work with our local school systems to eliminate the illegal use of these practices and increase system capacity to provide effective, positive means of behavior management.”

Choudhury says the Department is developing an action plan to provide increased oversight and proactive measures to ensure reform within Frederick County Public Schools, and other school systems around Maryland. It will work with the Office of the Inspection General For Education to actively monitor and intervene when  necessary to make sure all students, especially those with disabilities and students of color, are not subject to illegal use of restraints and seclusions.

MSDE says students and families who are concerned about the use of restraint and seclusion should reach out to their local boards  of education and MSDE for support. If parents of students with disabilities believe their children have been illegally  restraint or secluded, they  can file a formal Special Education Complaint with the Department’s Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services.   MSDE’s Family Support Section can provide support and assistance to families of students with disabilities.

By Kevin McManus