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Seclusion and Restraint Statutes, Regulations, Policies and Guidance States and Territories Summary

End Extreme school discipline policies


Blackboard Jungle 1955 Glenn Ford, Anne Francis, Louis Calhern, Vic Morrow and Sidney Poitier debut. "Rock around the clock" de Bill Haley and the Comets.

It is typical for classrooms to be set up in rows, or lately, in groups of 3-4 tables (which allow for easier cooperative learning). However, there are fundamental problems for each: by DR. SCOTT MANDEL PACOIMA MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • Unfair disciplinary measures, including the story of the child with the "black" shoes. Kelly Welch, an associate professor in sociology and criminal justice at Villanova University, said that zero-tolerance policies are often harsher in schools with large minority student populations. Suspension and expulsion, are so detrimental for student learning as well as future involvement in criminal justice.
  • 10 Surprising Dress Code Violations That Got Kids Suspended. Minor breaches in dress code policy landed these students in the principal's office.
  • In rows, studies have shown that the further back you go, the more discipline problems there are. The visual, aural and physical stimulation from the teacher is increasingly diminished as you move further back. This allows boredom to set in, and as a result, potential disruption.
  • In groups, the opposite is true. Students are over stimulated--by the peers that are now not only next to him/her, but across the table! There is now MORE to distract the student, leaving it harder for the teacher to keep the student focused on any frontal instruction.
  • An alternative is to arrange the chairs/tables into a three-sided "box"shape (|_|), (with an occasional second row if room demands). In this fashion, EVERY STUDENT IS IN THE FIRST ROW! The teacher can freely move around the room while talking, and therefore giving "personal"contact with each student. The result: greater attention and fewer discipline problems. Desks/tables can be moved into cooperative learning groups as needed usually within two-three minutes!

Fagging was a traditional educational practice in British boarding private schools (nearly all "public schools" in the English sense) and also many other boarding schools, whereby younger pupils were required to some extent to act as personal servants to the most senior boys. While domestic servants were common in family households, the custom reflected household task distribution and taught pupils about service from both ends of the relationship. Under school rules, fagging might entail harsh discipline and corporal punishment when those were standard practices. The practice of personal fagging faded away during the 1970s and 1980s, but to some degree has been maintained in former colonies or has been replaced by systems which require junior boys to do tasks for the benefit of the general school community. In England, the word "fag" became slang for a wearisome chore. It was also a punishment for younger children.

Corporal punishment is still allowed in 23 states. There are no state laws against spanking although 27 states have policies against the practice and this year Pennsylvania is becoming the 28th. Spanking in schools is currently allowed in 23 states. [1]

March 10, 2010 Groups aim again to reduce spanking in N.C. schools RALEIGH, N.C Children's advocates in North Carolina who lost a political tussle over corporal punishment in the public schools last year are trying again this year by focusing on a spanking ban for children with disabilities. Action for Children North Carolina released on Wednesday a report showing corporal punishment was used more than 1,400 times in 26 school districts that still use it during the last school year. The group asked state legislators to pass a broad ban for children with physical, mental or similar challenges. They said there are better ways to deal with disruptive behavior. Districts have the option to use corporal punishment. In 2009, the state Senate rejected a bill that would have allowed adults to opt out their children in the districts that still use it.

Allowed and Legal mostly in the south and midwest. In the South and Midwest, corporal punishment -- sanctioned, structured spanking of students by school administrators -- is largely embraced. As one moves closer to either the East or West Coast, state laws explicitly outlaw the practice.

Corporal Punishment
in US Schools

NY Since the practice was banned two decades ago, all New York school districts have been required to submit to the state twice-a-year corporal punishment reports. A review by the Associated Press, based on information obtained under the Freedom of Information Law, found that only 243 out of the 832 school districts actually filed those reports at the end of last year. Some big-city school districts, especially in the urban north, abolished CP long before the states in which they are situated. Thus, New York City first banned it in public schools in 1870, while in New York State as a whole it was not discontinued until 1985.

Bright Road Trailer 1953


Example of Corporal punishment - RE: WHIP - taking a ruler and slapping the palms of the students' hands; shown in the excellent movie staring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte, called Bright Road 1953 (comments)
"It is no coincidence this movie was written by a seasoned School Teacher. What this award-winning story essentially does - in the unusual context of a Hollywood movie - is to present an "outside-the-box" approach to dealing with the disciplinary and behavioral problems of a young male school student. By tapping into and encouraging the talents and interests of young rambunctious C.T., school teacher Ms. Richards (played by Dorothy Dandridge), is able to show how superficially negative classroom behavior can be evaluated and rechanneled to achieve positive results. Where the typical reaction to the student by school administrators would have been to issue non-rehabilitory disciplinary action or suspension, the outside-the-box approach results in a "win-win" solution for all involved. Not a bad lesson for our overcrowded and dysfunctional school and judical systems to learn some 50 years later as they both still routinely devour the C.T.'s of the world without a care to the horrendous cost-benefit results of their actions.
Harry Belafonte (in his first film role) also stars as the supportive school Principal. In a poignant scene beautifully worked into the story, he premieres one of his original compositions, "Suzanne."

A report by the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) shows that middle and high school students in New York City and Los Angeles are frequently ignored and mistreated in their classrooms, and subjected to harsh discipline policies that punish, exclude and criminalize students. The report uses a human rights framework to document the use of suspensions, law enforcement and other punitive disciplinary strategies that ignore students educational and emotional needs. Schools with the most repressive policies are overwhelmingly under-resourced, overcrowded and primarily attended by low-income students of color. The report calls on the Department of Education in New York City and the Los Angeles Unified School District to take a holistic approach to school climate and safety by reducing overcrowding, increasing resources for teachers, and guaranteeing the participation of students and parents. Schools should view discipline and the teaching of behavioral skills as an essential part of education and prioritize counseling and mediation. The criminalization of discipline and use of police in schools must stop. Students interviewed reported that they are mistreated, ignored and discouraged from learning in the classroom. Half stated that their teachers sometimes or most of the time say things that humiliate or insult them, such as calling them stupid or ugly, or telling them they "belong in the ghetto." Schools impose excessive suspensions for minor infractions, including being late to school, getting into arguments with students, or even giving a teacher "a look," that add up to significant losses in learning. Two-thirds of students reported they never, rarely or only sometimes feel safe with the presence of police, while one-third felt threatened, many referring to the sight of loaded guns. Students reported that police have used excessive force, including "slamming" students to the ground and spraying mace. Teachers reported that police have removed students from their classroom, sometimes humiliating them in front of the class. Teachers complained about losing the ability to provide input into disciplinary actions or exercise discretion to help individual students with problems.

Although the New York State Department of Education bans corporal punishment, each year it uses taxpayer money to send dozens of children with emotional or learning disabilities to schools that use physically and mentally abusive forms of behavior modification. These include electric shocks, seclusion and sleep and food deprivation. Because these punishments are euphemized as "aversive therapy," they have until recently stayed under the departments radar. But this summer, the New York State Board of Regents decided to regulate the use of such measures. Thankfully, the proposed new rules, which the Regents are scheduled to enact this week, ban aversive treatment after 2009. Unfortunately, however, for this school year and the two that follow, young New Yorkers who receive a "child specific exemption" will still be subject to some of these therapies, and those who get this treatment now could continue to receive it after 2009. This is a mistake, writes author Maia Szalavitz. Aversive therapy for children should be banned immediately here in New York and nationwide. Though corporal punishment can sometimes produce compliance among unruly children, history shows that regulators cannot prevent it from being applied dangerously and inappropriately.

Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature. This report was requested by Congress and examines the incidence and prevalence of abuse, patterns of misconduct, and prevention strategies. [source]
Preface - Full report download files PDF (790K) | Word (1M)

Antisocial Personality Disorder
What lurks within murderous minds?
The neural roots of murder

Who is Adrian Raine All about the work of Adrian Raine - Adrian Raine, D.Phil (York University, England, 1982) is Professor in Psychology, University of Southern California since 1987. His research interests include antisocial behavior (violence, crime, conduct disorder, psychopathy, delinquency), schizotypal personality disorder, alcoholism, brain imaging, psychophysiology, neuropsychology.

Reduced Prefrontal Gray Matter Volume and Reduced Autonomic Activity in Antisocial Personality Disorder

Archives of General Psychiatry
Brain Difference Found in Antisocials
Front Part of the Brain in Antisocials Deficient

A 3-D MRI scan of the brain of one ofthe study subjects diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. The prefrontal cortex is visible. (Adrian Raine)

Academic Press Daily InSCIght
Neural Roots of Murder

Tall, independent toddlers more likely to become bullies When it comes to predicting which toddlers are the school-yard bullies of tomorrow, size does matter, according to a study in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. "Three-year-olds -- male or female -- who average just half an inch taller than their peers tend to be more aggressive than normal when they reach age 11," says Adrian Raine, Ph.D., lead author of the study. The same is true of toddlers who are more fearless and stimulation seeking than their peers, says Dr. Raine, a professor of psychology in the University of Southern California's College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Prior research has consistently shown that the most aggressive children at age 11 are more likely than normal to become violent criminals as adults -- regardless of their height at age 11. "There appears to be a critical period in development -- sometime after age 3 but before age 11 -- when a child learns to use his physical advantage to aggressive ends," says the USC researcher into biological factors that may predispose an individual to crime, particularly violent crime. "Parents of tall toddlers -- especially those who are very stimulation seeking and fearless -- need to take extra care to drive home the message that there are a lot better ways than physical force to get what you want in life."

Science Daily
Functional Families, Dysfunctional Brains
If Murder's Upbringing Provides Few Clues, Brain Dysfunction May Explain The Crime

Dysfunctional brains -- not dysfunctional families -- may explain some murders, especially when the murderer comes from a "good" home, according to research published in the current issue of the journal Neuropsychiatry.

Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati Study links lead exposure to antisocial behavior The study is published in Neurotoxicology and Teratology " Public release date: 28-Feb-2002 Contact: Jim Feuer 513-636-4656
The first comprehensive lead study to track children over a period of time found that both prenatal and postnatal exposure to lead were associated with antisocial behavior in children and adolescents. Adolescents with the highest blood lead concentrations when they were first graders reported, on average, 4.5 more delinquent acts in the previous 12 months compared to children with the lowest blood lead concentrations as first graders. It appears that the neurodevelopmental effects of this avoidable environmental diseases of childhood may not be limited to declines in IQ or academic abilities. The researchers found that exposure to lead was associated with antisocial behavior, even after adjusting for other factors that could lead to similar behavior. These included quality of home environment, low birth weight, parental intelligence and social class. Surprisingly, the researchers found no gender differences in antisocial behavior. Girls were just as likely as boys to be violent and to be institutionalized for their behavior."

Decision-making processes following damage to the prefrontal cortex Brain, Vol. 125, No. 3, 624-639, March 2002 © 2002 Oxford University Press
Decision-making processes following damage to the prefrontal cortex
Facundo Manes*,1, Barbara Sahakian1, Luke Clark3, Robert Rogers4,3, Nagui Antoun2, Mike Aitken3 and Trevor Robbins3
Correspondence to: Dr Barbara Sahakian, University of Cambridge Psychiatry Department, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Box 189, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK E-mail:
*Present address: Cognitive Neurology Division, Department of Neurology, Raul Carrea Institute of Neurological Research, Montañeses 2325 (1428), Buenos Aires, Argentina
Recent work has suggested an association between the orbitofrontal cortex in humans and practical decision making. The aim of this study was to investigate the profile of cognitive deficits, with particular emphasis on decision-making processes, following damage to different sectors of the human prefrontal cortex. Patients with discrete orbitofrontal (OBF) lesions, dorsolateral (DL) lesions, dorsomedial (DM) lesions and large frontal lesions (Large) were compared with matched controls on three different decision-making tasks: the Iowa Gambling Task and two recently developed tasks that attempt to fractionate some of the cognitive components of the Iowa task. A comprehensive battery including the assessment of recognition memory, working memory, planning ability and attentional set-shifting was also administered. Whilst combined frontal patients were impaired on several of the tasks employed, distinct profiles emerged for each patient group. In contrast to previous data, patients with focal OBF lesions performed at control levels on the three decision-making tasks (and the executive tasks), but showed some evidence of prolonged deliberation. DL patients showed pronounced impairment on working memory, planning, attentional shifting and the Iowa Gambling Task. DM patients were impaired at the Iowa Gambling Task and also at planning. The Large group displayed diffuse impairment, but were the only group to exhibit risky decision making. Methodological differences from previous studies of OBF patient groups are discussed, with particular attention to lesion laterality, lesion size and psychiatric presentation. Ventral and dorsal aspects of prefrontal cortex must interact in the maintenance of rational and 'non-risky' decision making.

Social behavior among monkeys may be more nature than nurture
Public release date: 3-Dec-2003 Contact: William Harms 773-702-8356 University of Chicago Medical Center
"Similarities in Affiliation and Aggression Between Cross-Fostered Rhesus Macaque Females and Their Biological Mothers," published in the current issue of Developmental Psychobiology. Dario Maestripieri
An unusual experiment with monkeys who were switched between mothers shortly after birth has demonstrated the importance of nature over nurture in behavior. Young monkeys reared by a mother other than their own are more likely to exhibit the aggressive or friendly behavior of their birth mothers rather than the behavior of their foster mothers, a University of Chicago researcher has shown for the first time.
The discovery of inheritability of social behavior traits among non-human primates has important implications for people as it reinforces other research that suggests that such characteristics as sociability and impulsive aggressiveness among humans may have a genetic basis, said Dario Maestripieri, Associate Professor in Human Development at the University. The work withm monkeys may help other researchers understand the biological origins of characteristics that promote socialization among humans, he said. When Maestripieri looked at the behavior of the monkey offspring and their mothers over the span of three years, he found that while the offspring's behavior mirrored the behavior of their biological mothers, there was practically no similarity between the offspring and their foster mothers. "I was surprised by what we found," Maestripieri said. Scholars have felt that social learning from the mother would play an important role in the development of female social behavior from early infancy. The study shows that inherited behavioral predispositions are probably more important. "Using an innovative design to disentangle the effects of 'nature' and 'nurture,' Maestripieri demonstrates that heredity has a surprisingly important impact on the behavioral dispositions of infant macaques. These findings have important implications for understanding how evolution shapes behavior and temperament in primates and humans," she added.

Seclusion and Restraints States and Territories Summary

Summary Table of Seclusion and Restraint Statutes, Regulations, Policies and Guidance, by State and Territories

About Seclusions and Restraints
On May 19, 2009, the Education and Labor Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing to examine the abusive and potentially deadly misapplication of seclusion and restraint techniques in schools. Related to this hearing was the testimony issued on the same day by the Government Accountability Office on “Seclusions and Restraints: Selected Cases of Death and Abuse at Public and Private Schools and Treatment Centers.”

On July 31, 2009, Secretary Duncan sent a letter to the states and territories urging them to develop or review and, if appropriate, revise their state policies and guidelines to ensure that every student in every school under its jurisdiction is safe and protected from being unnecessarily or inappropriately restrained or secluded. He also urged them to publicize these policies and guidelines so that administrators, teachers and parents understand and consent to the limited circumstances under which these techniques may be used; ensure that parents are notified when these interventions do occur; and provide the resources needed to successfully implement the policies and hold school districts accountable for adhering to the guidelines. Secretary Duncan also encouraged the states and territories to have their revised policies and guidance in place prior to the start of the 2009-2010 school year to help ensure that no child is subjected to the abusive or potentially deadly use of seclusion or restraint in a school. The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education was tasked to work with staff from our regional Comprehensive Centers to contact state offices by August 15, 2009 to discuss the status of each state's efforts with regard to limiting the use of seclusion and restraint to protect students. During this contact, discuussions included relevant state laws, regulations, policies, and guidance that affect the use of seclusion and restraint, and any plans for further development or revisions.

The below table and accompanying document summarizes the state and territorial policies regarding seclusions and restraints that resulted from these discussions in order to share information that will help protect all students.

Download the state and territories summary document:

MS Word (3.3MB) | PDF (1.3MB)