Kansas HB 2170
[PDF], known as the Freedom From Unsafe Restraint and Seclusion Act, was signed into law on May 27, 2015.
This bill is related to current Emergency Safety Intervention Regulations
(ESI) [PDF] in place in Kansas. The State Board is directed under the law to take the new law and incorporate it into the existing ESI regulations.
Key points in this bill include:
- It applies to all public and private schools, coming into effect once it is published in the Kansas Register.
- The bill permits seclusion and restraint on a pupil only if there is imminent danger of physical harm and mandates an end to seclusion and restraint once that imminent danger has ended.
- The bill mandates that personnel maintain continuous visual contact during seclusion and restraint.
- It bans seclusion if the pupil has a known medical condition.
- It does not mandate schools to establish procedures on use of seclusion and restraint, but it establishes school reporting requirements.
The provisions of the bill are considered law along with the current ESI regulations published in the Kansas register in April 2013:
- The regulations require each district to develop and implement written policies on seclusion and restraint that conform to requirements in the regulations on seclusion and restraint.
- The regulations prohibit prone, supine, mechanical, and other restraints that restricts breathing.
- The regulations specify that any training personnel receive must be through a nationally recognized program.
- The training must include prevention techniques, de-escalation techniques, and positive behavioral intervention strategies.
- The training must relate to staff duties and the likelihood of an intervention while in those duties, and the training must be documented by the school.
- The regulations require parental notification after any intervention.
Taken in total, this compromise bill better addresses concerns of the disability community, as follows:
It keeps the current effective protections in place –
Where the current regulations have decent or effective protections, those protections continue in the bill—for example, prohibitions against prone and supine restraint and restraint that restricts breathing.
It fixes flawed policies –
Where the regulations are ineffective, it enhances the protections for students and parents against seclusion and restraint being used inappropriately.
It sets clear standards –
Restraint and seclusion can only be used when the student “presents a reasonable and immediate danger of physical harm” to self or others. The current standard is vague and speaks only to a student being a “danger” to self and others. This bill clarifies that it must be a reasonable and immediate danger of physical harm.
It includes “present ability” protection –
Restraint and seclusion can only be used if the student has the “present ability to effect such physical harm.” This is a new protection. Other states indicate that having this limitation helps protect children from unnecessary use of these tactics, because the student must have the ability to carry out the physical harm. This better ensures that restraint and seclusion are not used unnecessarily.
Staff must consider and rule out less restrictive alternatives –
Before restraint and seclusion can be used, less restrictive alternatives, such as positive behavior interventions support, must be found to be inappropriate or ineffective under the circumstances.
Restraint and seclusion must stop when the danger passes –
The use of restraint and seclusion must “cease as soon as the immediate danger of physical harm ceases.”
Observation is required –
When placed in seclusion, a school employee must observe (see and hear) the student at all times.
The bill requires no locked seclusion rooms –
Before seclusion, automatic disengagement of any locks is required. Seclusion rooms now must be a safe place with proportional and similar characteristics to other rooms that students frequent.
CPI Training Can Help You Comply With the Rules
Schools throughout the US use our Nonviolent Crisis Intervention®
training program because it focuses on prevention, de-escalation techniques, and other alternatives to restraint. Our training identifies underlying causes of student behaviors, and how staff and student behaviors affect each other. The program also includes evaluating risk of harm and signs of distress; documenting incidents; and safer, less restrictive physical interventions to be used only as a last resort.
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