Local Politics

Group seeks federal ban on pinning prone students

Posted February 15, 2010 4:18 p.m. EST
Updated February 16, 2010 8:28 a.m. EST

A disability rights group is asking the state superintendent of schools for a ban on a specific means of student restraint, saying the practice is dangerous and could lead to death.

Disability Rights North Carolina will release a report Tuesday outlining findings of a study into how schools physically restrain students who are acting out. In the report, DRNC suggests a federal ban on the use of "prone restraint," in which students are pinned face-down.

Prone restraint is one of five legal means school employees have for getting students under control, but, the report from DRNC concludes, classroom staff often lack the appropriate training in those techniques.

The report cites specific cases in Wayne, Durham, Cumberland and Wake county schools where students were injured by restraints. In Wayne, Durham and Cumberland counties, school officials worked with DRNC to change their practices and staff training.

DRNC and the Wake County Public School System have been unable to reach an agreement to ban prone restraint, the report says.

The group is pressing for federal regulation to standardize how school districts can restrain students.  "With no state or federal laws specifically banning dangerous restraint and seclusion practices, the reforms must be carried out one school system at a time," DRNC wrote in the report.