The Maine DOE has released data provided by Maine schools and other educational settings about the use of physical restraint and seclusion during the 2012-13 school year.
This is the first time that schools and other educational programs have been required to report data to the Department on the number of restraints and seclusions, the number of students who received those interventions and the number of serious bodily injuries suffered by students or staff as a result of a restraint or seclusion incident. The reporting is required under Department rule Chapter 33, a major substantive rule that was approved by the Legislature in 2012 and revised in 2013.
The spreadsheet available here shows the data as reported to the Department by school administrative units (SAUs) and private special-purpose schools. SAUs that have not submitted data to the Department are still required to file a report, even if there were no restraints or seclusions during the school year. The data can be reported by filling out a survey at the following link: www.surveymonkey.com/s/MRRMSH8.
The data is intended to inform local communities of the number of times restraint or seclusion has been used to respond to student behavior in their SAU and to provide an opportunity for conversations about local policies and practices regarding the use of restraint and seclusion. Information about specific incidents is confidential student information, and may not be released or discussed. However, those incident reports should be reviewed and analyzed by SAU administrators.
In addition, each SAU is required to have a local complaint and investigation policy by which a parent or guardian can ask for an investigation of a specific incident. If the local complaint process has been used and there are still concerns about a specific incident, the parent or guardian may ask the department to review the incident. To date, no incidents have been brought to the Department’s complaint process after exhaustion of the local complaint process.
The Maine DOE is in the process of hiring a student assistance coordinator who will have a range of responsibilities relating to concerns about student conduct and safety. Once this person is on staff, the Department will review restraint and seclusion data and follow up on data that indicates a potential need for technical assistance or further training.
All SAUs and covered entities are encouraged to review materials and resources on the Department’s website relating to Restraint and Seclusion at www.maine.gov/doe/school-safety/restraints/. In addition, we expect a best practices manual to be developed and posted to that website by the beginning of next year. The purpose of the best practices manual is to assist schools in reducing the need for restraints or seclusions by providing alternative methods of managing student behavior.