Seclusion Rooms in Ohio
UPDATED: On December 17, 2014, an important loophole was closed. Regulations holding charter schools accountable for the use of seclusion and restraints were amended to HB 178 and passed unanimously out of the Ohio House. The passage of this legislation extends seclusion and/or restraint provisions of rule 3301-35-15 to public charter schools. Now, all of Ohio’s public school children will now have the same protections.
For years, Ohio schoolchildren — many of them with disabilities — have been routinely isolated in cell-like seclusion rooms or physically restrained by educators with little or no oversight from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
On April 9, 2013 the State Board of Education finally passed rule 3301-35-15, governing the use of seclusion and restraints practices in Ohio schools. This rule is an important step for the many Ohio schools that secluded and restrained children without guidelines for years and adds extra protections like parental notification and oversight when a child is secluded or restrained.
Currently, the new rule only applies to traditional public schools and not public charter schools, leaving over 115,000 Ohio school children unprotected. However, Ohio Senate Bill 266 has been just been introduced that would require public charter schools to comply with the ODE’s policies and standards for limiting the use of physical restraint and seclusion on students.
The ACLU of Ohio will continue working to ensure that all of Ohio’s public school children are given the same opportunities and protections.
We will keep you posted on opportunities to take action.