Over the last few months, much attention has been focused on the use of restraints in public schools following a report about abuses at the Peck School in Holyoke.
Back in December, the Disability Law Center found that students were being improperly restrained for disciplinary reasons, rather than because they posed an immediate public safety threat. The state's report into the allegations found that there was "a systematic failure" at all levels in the Peck School, including a lack of training for staff about how to properly use restraints.
Holyoke School officials say they have taken steps to correct the problems, but it led us to think about schools that have been moving away from using restraints, which led us to Montgomery County Public Schools in Virginia. They began implementing a different approach 20 years ago to address disruptive behavior — focusing on positive interventions and using restraints as an absolute last resort.
Cyndi Pitonyak, technical assistance associate with the Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence.
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