Report: Kentucky Schools Restraining Students More Frequently

The report’s authors called the practice of restraining students unnecessary and harmful.

A recent report from the Children’s Law Center shows a steady rise in the use of restraints on students in Kentucky over the last three school years.

Using data from the Kentucky Department of Education’s School Report Card, the report also found that as many as 60 percent of students restrained in the state were in the third grade and below and that minority and disabled students are the most likely to be restrained, according to the Bowling Green Daily News.

Kentucky defines physical restraint as reducing freedom of movement of the student’s head, arms, legs or torso.

The study found there were 4,885 cases of restraint in the 2013-2014 school year; 5,985 cases in 2014-2015; and 6,489 cases in 2015-2016.

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The Children’s Law Center has called the practice of restraining students potentially harmful and urged schools to change their disciplinary policies to emphasize more proactive and positive approaches to dealing with unruly students.

Amanda Mullins Bear, managing attorney at the center’s Lexington office, recommended the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support approach to student discipline. That approach focuses on positive reinforcements like mentoring and counseling services for students that misbehave.

The approach has already been adopted at some school districts in the state, including Warren County Public Schools.

The study’s authors also argued the Kentucky Department of Education should be given more authority to enforce accountability, transparency and existing regulations at the schools.

“With these regulations, there’s no consequence for being noncompliant, and that’s a problem,” Bear said.

The report also found that the use of seclusion, defined as confining a student to an area, fell slightly in the state during the 2014-2015 school year.

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