Parents Question District’s Restraint Policy

Posted: December 16, 2012 at 5:54 a.m.

Pam Blair, principal, shows off the seclusion room Wednesday, recently completed at Sugar Creek Elementary. The 5-by-5-foot room was completed last week as a safe area for students to calm down when they are a danger to themselves or others, district officials said

Lauren Parrish noticed a bruise on her 9-year-old autistic son’s upper arm one night in August while preparing his shower. He refused to explain how he got the bruise, she said.

This story is only available from our archives.

I am the parent of a child with Autism. My child has come home on multiple occasions with bruises from being physically restrained at his Bentonville school. Physical restraint was used on an almost daily basis. It was NOT always used as a last resort as Mr. Poore states in the article. I learned from docuentation that physical restraint was used on my child even when he was refusing to do work and NOT harming himself or others. How do you justify that Mr. Poore? Most days that my child was restrained I NEVER received a call to tell me about it nor have most of his restraints even been documented. I was told the bruises (which were all in the shape of fingerprints) were caused by my child doing it to himself. Really? Imagine if I sent my child to school with these bruises? The school would call DHS and the police and I would loose my child. But its ok for my child to leave the home with no marks and come home from school with bruises? I am not denying my child has behavior issues like allot of special needs children do and we work on this on a daily basis but what do you teach a child when you are restraining them? You teach them fear, fight or flight and that adults can not be trusted. ESPECIALLY when you restrain them for something OTHER than what restraint is for!! The most successful schools in the United States do not use restraint and seclusion (and experts agree it is not helpful to a child at all) but sadly this is an ongoing epidemic across many public schools and the reporter does not mention how many children actually die each year or are severely injured from restraint and seclusion. I thank the Bentonville School District for admitting their use of restraint and seclusion in their schools but sugar coating it like it is in the article is very sad. It is a real problem that really happens and it needs to be dealt with and investigated. Putting a band aid on this and not admitting that restraint and seclusion is used for behaviors OTHER than a child harming himself or others will not fix it!! I was told by Courtney Salas-Ford and Dan Reed at the Arkansas Department of Special Education that they have no say so at all in issues of restraint and seclusion that it is the individual districts that make this choice. So okay Bentonville School District (the best school district in the state) why not show you are the best school district by being the first school district in the state to investigate and implement other ways to help our special needs children besides restraint and seclusion? Do this Mr. Poore and I will be your districts biggest advocate. Until then I will continue to advocate not only for my child but for the other special needs children who are and have been physically restrained and secluded at school for all the wrong reasons. I have faith the Bentonville School District can change but do they want to?

Posted by: WarriorMom2004

December 16, 2012 at 8:53 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lady -- How about a little respect for the class of students trying to learn something. How much time is taken away from teaching them something to give your kid a time out.

How much of my tax dollars were taken to have a quiet room so we can "mainstream" your kid?

Let both sides take a step back and find a compromise that works. It would honor that great philosopher and drunkard, Rodney King, to know that at least someone is "getting along".

Posted by: mljirka

December 16, 2012 at 10:52 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

I respect the work that teachers do on a daily basis country-wide. I think we have all witnessed the extraordinary efforts most teachers willingly give to make sure their children are safe. In some cases teachers are not properly trained to deal with autistic kids, who run the gamut of social coping skills. It is more difficult to work with some children than others based on their behaviors. I believe some schools within the district have teachers who are better trained than others. I'd like to see the numbers of cases in which restraint was used on a school by school basis rather than a total number of incidents in the district as a whole.
Restraint and seclusion are not the best way to deal with behavior problems - they are counter productive to autistic kids.
No one doubts the dedication of teachers. They have chosen a job in which they knowingly will receive low pay and are open to much criticism from helicopter parents. Still, the child is the most important person here and we cannot allow abuse to occur even if it stems from ignorance rather than malice. More investigation needs to be done to identify if there are problem schools and provide the teachers there with proper training. If restraint is being used more frequently than documented, then we have a problem.
If this is the case, parents are likely to not come forward for fear of retaliation.

Mikeej - I believe most schools have distinct special needs classes, so your child isn't having time taken away from him/her. Please have a little compassion. What if your child came home with bruises on a regular basis?

Posted by: albrown1959

December 16, 2012 at 11:22 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

This debate illustrates the whole fallacy of "mainstreaming" children with mental diseases and defects.

They need special help, and I'm unwilling to spend my tax dollars for the education of your regular children, much less the "special ones."

Posted by: CaptainQuint

December 16, 2012 at 12:58 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The acorn doesn't fall to far from the tree, does it, WarriorMom?

Posted by: JailBird

December 16, 2012 at 4:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

OUCH!! Glen Buck doesn't want to mainstream kids with mental disorders or even "normal" ones.

Your kid may have an accident someday, and be a "Special Needs" kid. I don't mind trying to give them a little part of the normal classroom routine but if they take up too much teaching time with disiplinary problems, then teaching doesn't get done for anybody. I think mom and the school should see the "big picture" and do what is best for both --- if they are both unhappy, then they have reached a compromise.

I think it is important for "normal" kids to interact with kids who have difficulties. They might learn some compassion that might make them better adults. But they also need to compete in education with other countries and we need teachers to teach, not babysit.

Posted by: mljirka

December 16, 2012 at 5:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

No, GenBuck doesn't want his tax dollars to go for your kids education, he wants YOUR tax dollars to go for your kids and others who have kids education. Should my tax dollars go for milk subsidies if I don't drink milk?

Posted by: JailBird

December 16, 2012 at 5:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I am a parent of a child with autism as well. One issue I have tried to work with the school is weighing the need of extra patience with my child versus the needs of the other children to learn. Training is important, no doubt. We also have to understand that there are times when it is a judgement call and we may disagree. My child is important, and so are the others.
I would also argue that some people with "mental defects" never make it to special education classrooms but still are allowed to blog, right Turdson? I have to question any person's charactor who would openly attack children.

Posted by: BCGuy

December 16, 2012 at 6:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The majority of schools do have special needs clasrooms and the children are not mainstreamed until they are ready to be in a regular classroom. I think the majority here are failing to see the point I was getting across. I as are many other parents of special needs children are offended by the comments above that our children have a mental disease and defects? Making such comments shows your lack of knowledge in the area. We all pay taxes for the education of our children and ALL children deserve to have an education regardless of race, gender OR disability. Im sure if the people who posted above with their comments against special needs children had a special needs child of their own the posts would be different. Special Education is a difficult field to be in. To be a SPED teacher means your teaching is not going to be easy but when you see a child successfully learning and developing you deserve the greatest of praise. My original comment was not about a teacher at the school. NWA just needed to know that there is more to the article than what was written.

Posted by: WarriorMom2004

December 16, 2012 at 7:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Thank you for your posts BCguy and Universal

Posted by: WarriorMom2004

December 16, 2012 at 7:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I expect the size of the classroom and the presence or lack of aides has something to do with the quality of education for all the children..
Of course it costs money.
According to the CIA Factbook, the U.S. is 43rd in the world in education expenditures as a percent of GDP.

Posted by: Coralie

December 17, 2012 at 1:58 p.m. ( | suggest removal )