The Kentucky Board of Education has approved a new restraint policy this week, which several educators argue is too vague.
The new regulations would only allow teachers to physically restrain or seclude misbehaving students when they pose an immediate threat or physical harm.
Several superintendents spoke at a public hearing last month against the policy. They argued teachers dealing with misbehaving students often need to make quick decisions, and the consequences aren’t spelled out in the policy.
“They granted a lot of folks opportunities to say their peace, but they passed the regulation which they felt was best suited for our state,” said Jon Akers is executive director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety, which helped propose recommendations to the board.
The policy does include some intervention training for school staff, but the provision in previous drafts requiring annual training was scratched from the final regulations.
“I think the key would be to have to appropriate training so that school staff, principals, teachers and aids will know what’s exactly expected of them,” said Akers.
The new regulations also exclude using restraint or secluding students who use hands to communicate, like sign language.
The policy now goes to the Legislative Review Committee for review.