According to wrightslaw.com, some school administrators are encouraging Congress to weaken any federal law prohibiting the use of restraint and seclusion to enable schools to include these measures in a child’s in Individual Education Programs (IEP’s). An IEP should not be used as a way to diminish a child’s rights.
If you are concerned about the use of these measures, feel free to use this “No Restraints” letter drafted by two experienced disability advocates.
No Restraint Letter
Drafted by Calvin and Tricia Luker of the Respect ABILITY Law Center (248) 544-7223
CITY, STATE ZIP CODE
(Name of Special Education Director)
(Name of School District)
(Address of School)
Re: child’s name and birth date (DOB 8-11-75)
Dear (Name of Special Education Director):
My child, child’s name, is a ________ grade student at ______ school. Insert child’s name has autism and has been receiving special education services since s/he started school.
We are concerned that insert child’s name behavior challenges now are being or might be addressed in part through the use of physical management and restraint. I have not authorized and will not consent to any activity that involves physically or mechanically restraining my child while at school or going to and from school. I know that special education law requires the use of functional assessments of behavior and positive behavior support plans to address behavior challenges. If the school feels insert child’s name behavior is such that physical management or restraints are being considered or used, it is obvious to me that we need to follow the law, do the assessment and develop a positive behavior support plan.
I am sure you are aware of the number of news reports in recent years highlighting the death of children with autism during or after having been physically managed or restrained. Given that special education law requires the development of behavior plans, and given the known risks to children – and to insert child’s name – of the use of restraint, I need for you to be clear that I will weigh all legal options if restraint activities against insert child’s name are not terminated immediately.
You may consider this letter a request to convene a behavior support team meeting to discuss insert child’s name behavior and possible approaches to address his/her particular needs. You also may consider this letter my request and consent for the performance of a functional assessment of behavior across environments and across time, provided that I am informed in advance that the functional assessment of behavior is going to be conducted and am permitted to participate in the development and implementation of the assessment.
I want to work with you and with insert child’s name teachers and professionals at _____ school to be sure that insert child’s name learns to develop positive behavioral skills in an environment that is safe for him/her, for his/her peers and for school personnel. I am certain that you also share my concern for student safety where physical intervention has the potential to result in the student’s death. I, like you, want my child’s school to be a safe and secure environment where all students can learn. I want to work with you to help create that environment for insert child’s name.
(Your telephone number)