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New Regulations on Restraint and Seclusion in Public Schools Headed to Governor

MBandman / Creative Commons

Virginia is one step closer to adopting the state’s first-ever set of regulations governing the use of seclusion and restraint on public school students.  The proposed rules recently received the necessary approval from multiple state agencies. 


The proposed rules prohibit certain types of physical restraint, and lay out standards for when restraining students may be necessary. 

Samantha Marsh Hollins, with the Virginia Department of Education, told lawmakers Wednesday the new rules also include training requirements for public school staff.  

“And they have a very very definite focus on the prevention of restraint and seclusion in public schools throughout the Commonwealth,” said Marsh Hollins.

Not much is known about how often those practices are used in Virginia, because public schools aren’t required to report that data to state officials. That would change under the proposed regulations. 

Republican Delegate Dickie Bell sponsored legislation four years ago, directing the Department of Education to create these standards. 

“But we know the wheels turn slowly on this end of things, and fortunately now those regulations are before the Governor for him to act on,” said Bell. 

The Governor doesn’t have a deadline to give his approval. If he does there will be one final public comment period before the regulations become effective.


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.


Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief.