- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Students with disabilities and students of color were most likely to be restrained and secluded in Kentucky schools in 2014-15, according to a recent report from a child-welfare advocacy group.

Statewide, youth with disabilities made up 58 percent of those restrained during that school year and were involved in 89 percent of seclusion incidents, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader (https://bit.ly/2h7qUXR), citing the report released by the Children’s Law Center Inc. last week.

Students of color were reported to be restrained at a rate nearly five times that of their white peers, and also were secluded more, the report revealed.

“We were particularly shocked to see that 60 percent of school restraints in Kentucky are students in the third grade and below,” said Amanda Mullins Bear, managing attorney of the Lexington office of the Children’s Law Center, who presented the findings to the Kentucky Juvenile Justice Oversight Council in Frankfort.

Kentucky Department of Education data show students were restrained 5,985 times during the 2014-15 school year, up from 4,885 in 2013-14. For the 2015-16 school year, the number has risen to 6,489 thus far.

“Using restraint and seclusion on children in Kentucky schools is often unnecessary, and can be harmful,” the Children’s Law Center said in a Nov. 29 news release.

School officials “should be focused on creating positive environments and providing supports so that restraint and seclusion are unnecessary,” Bear said.

Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Nancy Rodriguez said the agency is reviewing the findings and recommendations.

“The safety of all Kentucky’s students is paramount and the Kentucky Department of Education is committed to ensuring all students are safe in school,” Rodriguez said.


Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, https://www.kentucky.com

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