Fairfax County Special Education PTA (SEPTA) released the following statement regarding restraint and seclusion in FCPS on March 17, 2019:
Click for PDF of SEPTA’s statement
We encourage you to reach out to us if you have specific questions or experiences you would like to share regarding the practices of restraint and seclusion in FCPS. It is our job to represent the interests of our membership and we want to hear from you. Please contact President@FairfaxCountySEPTA.org.
The Board of the Fairfax County Special Education PTA (SEPTA) is currently working with FCPS leadership and the Fairfax County Council of PTAs (FCCPTA) to address our communities’ concerns regarding the lack of reporting and appropriate use of restraint and seclusion in Fairfax County Public Schools that was reported by NPR on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
As always, we encourage our members and other disability stakeholders, including students, to communicate their concerns to the FCPS School Board. The next meeting of the School Board is this Thursday, March 21. Click HERE to register to speak. To register in advance you must tie your comments to one of the topics listed on the School Board meeting agenda, but that is a formality and SB members have encouraged parents to speak out regardless of topic. Another option is to show up at 6:30 and sign up “same-day”, which will allow you to speak on any issue without tying it to the agenda. Please note: There are only 10 citizen participation slots open at each meeting, and same-day sign ups are only available if less than 10 people sign up prior to the advance sign-ups closing.
FCPS responded a few days after the original WAMU article with this official statement:
Special education advocates, concerned parents, and community members have raised concerns in light of recent media reports regarding FCPS’s seclusion and restraint procedures and documentation requirements. The Fairfax County School Board and Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand take these concerns seriously and, in response, have commenced a complete and thorough evaluation and review of the following areas:
“The Fairfax County School Board is committed to ensuring that FCPS provides a caring and inclusive culture that meets the needs of all of our students,” said School Board Chair Karen Corbett Sanders. “We understand the community’s concerns and welcome the superintendent’s review of the district’s seclusion and restraint procedures. Based on the superintendent’s findings, the Board will determine next steps regarding the district’s seclusion and restraint practices.”
“School Board Chair Corbett Sanders and I share the concerns of those who are raising questions about our seclusion and restraint procedures,” said Superintendent Brabrand. “We know that parents trust schools to provide an environment in which students can learn and grow led by kind and caring professionals. While our schools offer such an environment for students of all capabilities, we want to ensure that all school-based personnel trained in the use of seclusion/restraint understand the appropriate use of the procedures to manage extremely challenging student behaviors in emergency situations along with the documentation requirements. Under our current guidelines, the practice is prohibited unless there is a dangerous situation and seclusion/restraint is necessary to protect the student or another person or persons.”