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Student Restraint Guidelines Debated
Updated May 5, 2013 12:13 AM
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(BEECH GROVE) - The issue of how students are restrained in Indiana schools continues to press buttons.

Adrienne Broaddus of WISH TV 8 reports that in November, a Pike Township mother learned her son was locked in a closet at school.

In Wayne Township, an 8-year-old battling Down syndrome came home earlier this month with duct tape wrapped around her ankles. Some say these are examples of unnecessary punishment for behavior.

While lawmakers continue to debate how to make the state's rules clear, one school district is taking steps on its own.

"We found that we needed to draft a policy that was clear and consistent so that our educators and team know what was able to be used and what was not," Laura Hammack said. "It is our vision in this district that the use of seclusion and restraint is something we don't even need to get to because we have deescalated situations."

Monday night, the board approved the new policy that says physical restraint may be used to control behavior under emergency circumstances. It also prohibits the use of seclusion on a student for discipline.

That means a student can not be locked in a room or area or to control behavior during non-emergency situations. Kim Dodson is the associate executive director of Arc of Indiana. The group fights for children with disabilities.

ARC is pushing the bill that would protect students statewide from harsh and extreme measures that have made headlines in recent weeks.

"I think this is really great. It is really nice to see a school be proactive and doing things before a horrible situation takes place," Dodson said. "It is awful that the event took place to make schools start thinking about it."

A vote on the statewide bill was delayed Wednesday.

It now could be considered next week. Meanwhile, Beech Grove is one of four districts who depend on Southside special services of Marion County. The agency provides the district with occupational therapist and other special needs teachers.

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