Update: On December 12. 2014, SB 266 was amended into HB 178 and passed unanimously out of the Ohio House extending the seclusion and/or restraint provisions of rule 3301-35-15 to public charter schools
SB 266 requires Ohio’s public charter schools to comply with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE)’s policies and standards for limiting the use of physical restraint and seclusion on students. In April 2013, ODE implemented rule 3301-35-15, which restricts the use of physical restraints and seclusion, implements positive behavior intervention supports, and requires reporting, parental notification, and monitoring, among other protections. Currently, rule 3301-35-15 only applies to Ohio’s public non-charter schools, but SB 266 will extend the rule to public charter schools.
LCS Legislation Status
Our Take on This Bill
The ACLU of Ohio supports SB 266. Unregulated physical restraint and seclusion methods are frequently misused and overused. Often, these extreme measures are used to punish students or because frustrated educators lose patience with a child. Additionally, these methods are disproportionately used against students with disabilities and students of color.
Currently, only students in traditional public schools are protected by policies and standards that strictly limit the use of physical restraint and seclusion. SB 266 will extend protection to the over 115,000 Ohio school children not currently covered by ODE rule 3301-35-15. Some of the protections include: prohibiting certain types of aggressive restraints, allowing seclusion only as a last resort, prohibiting restraint or seclusion as methods of punishment, requiring parental notification, and implementing oversight. The Ohio General Assembly should extend these protections to all of Ohio’s public school children by passing SB 266.
Update - 12/3/2014: SB 266 passed unanimously out of the Ohio Senate with an explicit amendment extending the seclusion and/or restraint provisions of rule 3301-35-15 to public charter schools.