I don’t think I will ever, ever bring this up to her, but. There’s a woman in [fan organization] who is a teacher, who works with students with behavioral problems (or something along those lines? I’m not sure of the exact details.) She likes to joke about putting her students in headlocks. And okay, it’s a stressful job, sometimes her students try to punch her and she has to keep going back there every day, she gets to joke about things that stress her out.
But there have been teachers like her who did put kids in headlocks– or just restrained them in ways that are considered okay! and those kids ended up badly injured or dead.
At least 20 children nationwide have reportedly died while being restrained or isolated over the course of two decades, the Government Accountability Office found in 2009.
The federal data shows schools recorded 163,000 instances in which students were restrained in just one school year. In most cases, staff members physically held them down. But in 7,600 reports, students were put in “mechanical” restraints such as straps or handcuffs. (Arrests were not included in the data.) Schools said they placed children in what are sometimes called “scream rooms” roughly 104,000 times.
Those figures almost certainly understate what’s really happening. Advocates and government officials say underreporting is rampant.
Most critics of restraints agree they are sometimes unavoidable. But they say schools too often fail to try alternatives for calming students and use the tactics for the wrong reasons—because children failed to follow directions, for instance, or had tantrums. Indeed, in a recent survey, nearly 1 in 5 school district leaders approved of using restraints or seclusion as punishment.
“We have hundreds of examples of kids who are being restrained and secluded for behaviors that do not rise to the level of causing harm to themselves or others,” says Cindy Smith, policy counsel at the National Disability Rights Network.
There is no national count of children who are injured during restraints or seclusions. But at least one state is keeping its own tally.
Connecticut schools reported 378 holds or isolations that resulted in injuries to children in the 2013 school year. Of those, 10 were classified as “serious” and required medical attention beyond basic first aid.
Restraints in Connecticut schools usually lasted less than 20 minutes, but nearly 200 of them continued for more than an hour. A quarter of the students who were restrained experienced six or more holds during the year. Nineteen students were restrained more than 100 times.
The state also found that 40 percent of disabled students who were restrained had an autism diagnosis. The same was true for half of those secluded.
News article from ABC on the death of Corey Foster. This article has a video that may start playing automatically.
The mother of a 16-year-old boy with special needs who died after being physically restrained by school staff for allegedly refusing to leave the basketball court at his school has filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the school.
“Losing Corey has been a painful and tragic occurrence,” said Sheila Foster, the mother of Corey Foster. “It’s emotionally stressful. I took this course of action to hold Leake & Watts school accountable and to help change laws on restraint and seclusion in schools.”
“I just don’t want this to happen to another child,” said Foster.
Surveillance video made public last month and aired on ABC News shows the teenager playing basketball in the school gym alongside other students and staff members on April 18, 2012. Minutes later he is surrounded by staff in a corner of the gym where it appears he is pushed against the wall and then restrained face-down by four staff members. Nearly 45 minutes later he was removed from the gym on a stretcher.