Today, State Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D – Columbus) joined with the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio in calling for eliminating the use of seclusion rooms in Ohio schools based on a recent report by the Ohio Department of Education.

The report notes that children in public schools throughout Ohio were secluded 5,000 times and restrained about 9,000 times within the last school year. Also, about 97% of those restraints involved children with disabilities.

“Many studies note that the use of seclusion rooms and restraint techniques have harmful long-term effects including but not limited to psychological trauma, physical harm and fear,” stated Tavares. “Ohio needs to develop a holistic approach to managing student behavior in schools that considers the needs and learning styles of all children.”

Senator Tavares echoes the call by the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio of Ohio to do the following:

  • Ban the use of seclusion in schools;
  • Bar the use of restraint except in situations of extreme emergency;
  • Mandate and engage in more comprehensive data collection on the use of seclusion and restraint and ensure that this data is made publicly available;
  • Implement interventions that award positive student behavior; and
  • Provide comfort rooms in schools

“The recommendations by the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio provide a foundation for Ohio to reduce the use of force on our children,” stated Tavares. “I look forward to partnering with other lawmakers and those in the education community to ensure that we are cultivating safe and nurturing environments for our children while also identifying and addressing the root causes of the behavior.”

In the 130th General Assembly, Senator Tavares also introduced legislation that would eliminate zero tolerance policies in schools. Zero tolerance policies are defined as a policy that results in a mandatory minimum or expulsion of any student who commits one or more specified offenses. She plans on reintroducing the legislation in the near future.  

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