By Art Hunter
The New Richmond Exempted Village School District Board of Education heard the first reading of a new policy for the use of physical restraint and seclusion at its regular meeting Dec. 16.
Superintendent Adam Bird said that the use of physical restraint and seclusion are not problematic issues in the district, but that recent legislation requires the implementation of the new policy.
“I don’t believe that we have an issue in this district when it come to the bodily restraint of students, other than a couple of very small things,” Bird said.
He also said that most seclusion rooms that are used in education are used in settings where students have emotional issues.
“We do not have a seclusion room in our school district,” he said.
The new policy states that school personnel will work to prevent the need for the use of restraint or seclusion. It states that professional staff will be trained in the use of restraint and seclusion, but that the use of those techniques is only permitted when there is an immediate risk of physical harm to the student or others.
Bird said that not all physical contact with students is covered by the definition of physical restraint in the new policy.
“Physical restraint does not include brief physical contact to break up a fight, knock a weapon away from a student’s possession, or to calm or comfort a student,” Bird said. “Physical restraint doesn’t mean stopping a child from running in front of a car. In those common sense kinds of issues we can still use whatever means necessary.”
The new policy will also require the documentation of each use of restraint or seclusion, which will be reported to the building administrator and parents or the student.
The board will be able to adopt the policy if it so chooses after two more readings.