Federal investigators crack down on two Virginia schools’ Use of Restraints

Investigators found that children were being regularly pinned down or isolated and that their education was suffering as a result


Federal investigators have faulted two Virginia schools for pinning down and isolating disabled students improperly, saying the schools used the practices routinely as a "one-size fits all" response to disruptive behavior despite evidence they didn't work.

Rather than focusing on specific incidents, the investigators found a systematic breakdown in how educators at the schools employed restraints and seclusions. The school-wide scope of the findings signals that the federal education department's Office of Civil Rights expects schools to pay close attention to how they are implementing the potentially dangerous tactics.

"It says our default response to misbehavior can't be restraint and seclusion," said Angela Ciolfi, a lawyer with the Virginia Legal Aid Justice Center, which worked on the complaint that prompted the investigation.

ProPublica reported in June that students nationwide were restrained or secluded more than 267,000 times in the 2012 school year. Our analysis of federal data revealed that despite a near-consensus that the risky practices should be used rarely, some schools rely on them regularly — even daily — to control children.

Hundreds of students have been injured — some seriously — as a result.

The civil rights office's July 29 findings come at a time when federal action on the issue appears to be otherwise in a holding pattern. Congressional bills to limit the practices have stalled amid opposition from some school groups and Republicans.

The complaint that started the investigation was filed by a teenager who was sent to PACE East in Prince William County southwest of Washington, D.C., because of unruly behavior. The boy — referred to as M.C. in the complaint — had "significant" mental health problems that included depression and anxiety, said his lawyer, Bill Reichhardt. His family, who is Hispanic, spoke limited English.

Instead of providing the services the boy needed, Reichhardt said, PACE East staff often responded to relatively minor infractions — such as refusing to follow directions — with harsh measures such as physically restraining him.

"In many cases staff put their hands on him," Reichhardt said. "And that escalated very quickly."

One confrontation with staff was so volatile police were called in. The boy said an officer "busted his lip" while handling him, according to the original complaint.

Reichhardt said he noticed while looking into the boy's case that other students had encountered a similar pattern of routine restraints and seclusions — including at PACE East's sister school, PACE West. The two schools function as "last stops" before institutional care for district students with serious emotional and behavioral problems.

Staff got into the habit of regularly using the tactics as a way of controlling children's behavior, Reichhardt said. "That is extremely problematic and, in my opinion, dangerous."

The schools' records contained no evidence of injuries to children. But the decision said restraint and seclusion were "widespread" and "repeated" at the schools, with no indication that staff tried less restrictive alternatives first.

As much as 40 percent of the student body at PACE West experienced a restraint or seclusion in the 2012 school year, according to the federal decision, amounting to 219 uses. PACE East records showed 33 students were restrained or secluded 144 times that year.

Despite the frequent use of restraints and seclusion, the two schools and the district had reported zero instances of either practice to federal data collectors, investigators noted. The schools also failed to "consistently and adequately notify" parents when their children had been subjected them to the techniques.

Children missed out on academics while stuck for hours in a time-out area and more restrictive padded seclusion room, or while being placed in holds, investigators found.


The schools often failed to properly evaluate students' behavior and develop plans to prevent the sort of crises that often bring on restraints or seclusions, investigators found.

Furthermore, administrators and staff viewed school policies differently. The district's director of special education, for instance, told investigators a student screaming threats was not enough to justify restrictive techniques like restraint or seclusion; staff, however, said screaming was disruptive enough to warrant using them.

As a result, the federal investigators found, the schools denied students a proper education. The school district has agreed to a corrective plan in which the district will re-evaluate every student who had been restrained or secluded more than twice over two years. The district will provide additional educational or other types of services to any students who need it.

Prince William County Schools spokesman Phil Kavits said that the district does not agree with everything in the investigators' findings. He declined to offer specifics, and he said the district will make the changes requested.

"Our plan is to move forward by taking a look at a range of cases and ensure that we are indeed following the appropriate procedures," he said. "Our goal is to make sure we are giving students the proper educational and therapeutic services."

The boy at the center of the investigation settled his complaint with the school district and is receiving the services he needs, Reichhardt said.

Through a statement her lawyers translated, the mother of the boy said the decision will help other students who are mistreated — including those who neither speak English nor understand their rights. She said she was happy "knowing that other children will not have to go through what we did."

Read more about restraints and seclusions in public schools across the country, who’s fighting federal limits on the practices, and whether your state law says it’s ok to pin down kids in school.



Nifty, Sensex to head higher – Tuesday closing report

Even if Nifty gives up some gains on Wednesday, it may push higher over the coming days


We had mentioned on Monday that the Indian market will log further gains. The indices continued to make gains on Tuesday with S&P BSE Sensex logging in the highest percentage gain since 6 June 2014, while NSE's CNX Nifty recorded the highest gains since 30 June 2014. After moving in a narrow range up to 2.00pm, both the benchmarks shot up.

BSE's 30-share Sensex opened at 25,704 while the NSE's 50-share Nifty opened at 7,689. The indices hit a low at 25,646 and 7,655. During the last hour of the trading,   Sensex hit a high of 25,905 and closed at 25,881 (up 362 points or 1.42%) while Nifty hit a high of 7,736 and closed at 7,727 (up 101 points or 1.33%). NSE recorded a much lower volume of 64.79 crore shares. India VIX fell 3.78% to close at 13.4675.

Except for Consumption (0.01%) all the other indices closed in the green. The top five gainers were CPSE (2.66%), Finance (2.18%), PSE (2.12%), Auto (1.84%) and Energy (1.59%).

Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 44 ended in the green. The top five gainers were Tata Motors (5.99%), Gail (5.55%), HDFC (5.30%), ONGC (3.38%) and BPCL (3.15%). The top five losers were Bharti Airtel (1.46%), Tata Power (1.16%), Maruti (0.32%), Hindalco (0.24%) and Hero MotoCorp (0.23%).

Of the 1,596 companies on the NSE, 853 companies closed in the green, 655 companies closed in the red while 88 companies closed flat.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan said on Monday that India will be tested by capital outflows when interest rates start picking up in industrial countries.

Rainfall forecast for India has been lowered to 87% of the long-period average from 93% earlier due to a slow start to the season, the earth sciences minister said today. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, said there was no evidence of a drought this year and that the August-September monsoon rains were seen at 95% of the long-period average.

According to data released by the government, India's industrial production during June was at 3.4% while retail inflation in July based on the combined consumer price index (CPI) for rural and urban India was at 7.96% compared with 7.46% a month ago.

GAIL has bid for licenses to retail CNG and piped cooking gas in 14 cities including Bengaluru and Pune. The stock was the top gainer (6.02%) in the Sensex 30 pack.

Celkon Mobiles has tied up with Bharti Airtel to launch Millennium Dazzle Q44 phone.


Priced at Rs6,449, the phone will come with a free (Airtel) data pack of 500MB on 3G for two months. Bharti Airtel (1.67%) was the top loser in the Sensex 30 stock.

Eicher Motors (7.94%) was the top gainer in ‘A’ group on the BSE. It hit its 52-week high at Rs9,350 on the BSE. It posted good June 2014 quarter result. The net profit for June 2014 quarter is Rs133.24 crore as compared to Rs52.62 crore for the quarter ended June 2013. Sales increased from Rs381.82 crore for June 2013 quarter to Rs746.19 crore for the quarter June 2014.

Bhushan Steel (9.98%) was the top loser in ‘A’ group on the BSE. Today again it hit a new 52-week low on the BSE. It has been among the major losers on the bourses after its vice-chairman and managing director Neeraj Singal was involved in the bribery scandal involving Syndicate Bank. Now the lenders are going to have a meeting with the company on August 18 to decide on the future course of action.

US indices closed Monday in the green.

US President Barack Obama on Monday gave full US support for Iraq's president to form a new government hours after embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected stepping aside for a successor. Iraq on Monday named Haidar al-Abadi as the new prime minister to end the eight-year rule of Maliki.

Except for Shanghai Composite (0.14%), Straits Times (0.09%) and Taiwan Weighted (0.11%) all the other trading Asian indices closed in the green. Jakarta Composite (0.37%) was the top gainer.

Singapore's gross domestic product rose an annualized 0.1% in the three months through June from the previous quarter, when it climbed a revised 1.8%, the trade ministry said in a statement today.

European indices were trading lower while US Futures were trading marginally higher.




3 years ago

I f this trend is continued indian traders also vanish . then who will make thew market.Even in moneylife column and daily market report it is not mentioning the crashing of most of the stocks.I like moneylife to bring to the notice to regulators and ordinary traders.Minimum most of the stocks to rise atleast 50 percent to 100 percent to reach the two months high.YOU CALL IT BULL MARKET


3 years ago

Only nifty and sensex is gaining by way of uptrend in select stocks.Most of the stocks are already crashed in the market.HOw people are saying this is bull market.It looks like manipulation in the index and sell other stocks in the name of bull market to common investors.Is sebi and fm watching in silence of the manipulation in the indeices.

Make SEBI to publicly disclose consent agreements and cases, says Rajeev Chandrasekhar

According to Rajeev Chandrasekhar, market regulator SEBI should be bound by law to publicly disclose details of its consent agreements and cases, with a view to enhance the transparency, accountability and efficiency of its functioning


Rajeev Chandrasekhar, an independent member of the Rajya Sabha, who is also a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, has proposed some amendments in the Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill 2014. Participating in the debate on the Bill in the upper house, Mr Chandrasekhar said, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) should be bound by law to publicly disclose details of its consent agreements and cases, with a view to enhance the transparency, accountability and efficiency of its functioning.


The Parliament on Tuesday approved the SEBI Amendment Bill to empower the market regulator to crack down on ponzi schemes, though it will not have the authority to tap telephone conversations.


Sebi, however, will have the powers to seek call data records for investigation purposes, said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while piloting the Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha.


Lok Sabha had last week passed this Bill.


Mr Chandrasekhar, the independent MP, also called for a for a revision of the criterion for classifying collective investment schemes (CIS), introduction of safeguards against the SEBI’s power of attachment and an increase in sums of punitive fines for defaulters. He said, the definition of CIS should specify the number of investors, as this would ensure that the regulatory gap for these schemes is bridged.


Pointing out that the current penalties prescribed for defaulters under the bill were inadequate, Mr Chandrasekhar urged the government to consider raising these to Rs5 crore per day from the existing Rs5 lakh per day for insider trading related defaults. For defaults related to investor grievances, mutual funds, asset management companies and stock brokers, the penalties should be raised to Rs1 crore a day from the current Rs1 lakh per day, he said.


Key points made by the Mr Chandrasekhar are:


Criterion for Classification of Collective Investment Schemes: As per Clause 3 of the Bill, SEBI would have the power to regulate all schemes that have a corpus of up to Rs100 crore. Mr Chandrasekhar said there was a need to append to this clause, a specification on the number of investors. By specifying that all corpuses with to up to 500 investors are covered by the Bill, even smaller entities regularly pooling their funds under investment contracts would come under regulatory scrutiny.


He also highlighted that the definition of CIS under the Bill is too broad, and therein posed the risk of facilitating harassment of legitimate, small-scale businesses. This would have to be considered in the light of the fact that the only existing CIS entity that has registered with SEBI (since the CIS regulations were introduced in 1999) is yet to launch even a single scheme, he pointed out.


SEBI’s Power of Attachment: Mr Chandrasekhar also raised a concern regarding Clauses 21 and 35 of the Bill that relate to SEBI’s power of attachment. He asserted that the power to attach that SEBI has been bestowed with in this Bill must be moderated through a magistrate, just as in the case with search and seizure orders. This would serve as reasonable safeguards on SEBI’s power, he said.


Transparency in the Functioning of SEBI: Mr Chandrasekhar pointed to the need for the Act to introduce an additional clause that would ensure that all consent agreements and cases of the regulator are publicly disclosed. Disclosure, he asserted, must be made legal and binding on the regulator as this would go a long way in enhancing the efficacy and transparency of SEBI’s functioning.



Nagesh Kini

3 years ago

All past consents ought to be put in public domain in SEBI website and there should be an end hereafter!

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