KHQ Investigates: Parents concerned with school discipline pract - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

KHQ Investigates: Parents concerned with school discipline practices

Posted: Updated:
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Erin Carden was rushing to her son’s school to prevent what she knew her 15-year-old was capable of doing.

“When I arrived he was face down in the foyer hitting his head against the cement over, and over, and over,” said Carden. “He was screaming that he wanted to kill himself.”

The chilling account happened after Carden’s son, who is autistic, was restrained for acting up in class.

“They had to drag him because he was being so combative,” said Carden. “The resource officer used a pressure hold on him to subdue him. He swung at the officer and hit her neck.”

As Carden shared this story with fellow parents, teachers, and board members at the Spokane Public Schools board meeting, she stood by herself.

But she is not alone.

Many parents at SPS are worried about controversial discipline practices at school called restraint and isolation.

Isolation means secluding a student to a room until they calm down, while restraint happens when a school staff member (usually a School Resource Officer) has to physically intervene to control the student. This practice usually means teachers or SROs have to place children in arm locks or hold them on the ground, and the state wants it to stop.

Spokane County Public Defender, Megan Manlove, says restraint and isolation often escalates an already unstable situation.

“The teacher told him [student] to get out of the desk and he refused,” said Manlove. “Eventually an SRO was called in and that child was yanked out of a desk and his head was actually slammed onto a table.”

Manlove handles juvenile cases and says she sees cases like this come across her desk all the time.

“Whether the schools are actually following that law and implementing those policies is really questionable based on what I see come across me desk,” said Manlove.

The law Manlove is talking about is SHB 1240. It passed in 2015 and was implemented at the start of the last school semester with a goal aimed at ending the use of isolation and restraint in schools.

The law states: “The legislation finds that there is no educational or therapeutic benefit to children from physically restraining or isolating them as part of their public school programs when no necessary for immediate safety.”

The law requires school districts to change their policies so staff cannot use restraint or isolation unless a “student’s behavior poses and imminent likelihood of serious harm to that student or another person.”

SPS has changed its policy, but numbers acquired through a public information request shows the district is using restraint and isolation more than any other in the state.

Data shows that SPS used isolation and restraint 3,515 times in the 2014-15 school year. To compare, the Central Valley School District used restraint and isolation 331 times that same school year, and the Tacoma School District used it 436 times the year before.

During the 2014-15 school year, the West Valley and Mead School Districts used restraint and isolation less than 100 times. There was no data available for the East Valley School District.

Starting January 1, 2016, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction requires that all school districts report the use of restraint and isolation at the end of each school year.

SPS has scheduled training for School Resource Officers starting on August 17. The district has not said if the use of restraint and isolation will be included in that training, however they will be learning and reviewing how to recognize and respond to youth with mental health issues.

SPS has the most special needs students in the state of Washington, but attorneys and parents are concerned that school staff are using restraint and isolation beyond what it’s intended for.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Coeur d'Alene Police investigating school shooting threat made on Snapchat

    Coeur d'Alene Police investigating school shooting threat made on Snapchat

    Friday, October 19 2018 1:04 AM EDT2018-10-19 05:04:39 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d'Alene Police are investigating a reported school shooting threat at Coeur d'Alene High School. A spokesperson for the district said that the threat was written on a napkin and shared  on Snapchat. It says: "CHS school shooting 10-19-18. Be ready." Police tell us that while they are still investigating whether the threat is credible, they do not believe the CHS that the note mentions is referring to Coeur d'Alene High School.

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d'Alene Police are investigating a reported school shooting threat at Coeur d'Alene High School. A spokesperson for the district said that the threat was written on a napkin and shared  on Snapchat. It says: "CHS school shooting 10-19-18. Be ready." Police tell us that while they are still investigating whether the threat is credible, they do not believe the CHS that the note mentions is referring to Coeur d'Alene High School.

    >>
  • Explosive device that caused CdA evacuations rendered safe

    Explosive device that caused CdA evacuations rendered safe

    Friday, October 19 2018 6:51 PM EDT2018-10-19 22:51:23 GMT

    Ramsey Elementary and Coeur d' Alene Police station have been evacuated after an explosive device was brought to the station for disposal. Police have called in a bomb squad to dispose of the device and evacuated the buildings as a precaution. Coeur d' Alene School District released the following statement regarding the situation: 

    >>

    Ramsey Elementary and Coeur d' Alene Police station have been evacuated after an explosive device was brought to the station for disposal. Police have called in a bomb squad to dispose of the device and evacuated the buildings as a precaution. Coeur d' Alene School District released the following statement regarding the situation: 

    >>
  • K9 Laslo passes away

    K9 Laslo passes away

    Friday, October 19 2018 9:21 AM EDT2018-10-19 13:21:56 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - After struggling with medical issues recently, retired Spokane County Sheriff's Office K9 Laslo passed away early Friday morning.  "It is with the most heavy heart that I tell you K9 Laslo passed away this morning at 0115hrs," a post on Laslo's Facebook page said Friday morning. "There will be a piece of my heart always missing. To the best partner I ever had, R.I.P." 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - After struggling with medical issues recently, retired Spokane County Sheriff's Office K9 Laslo passed away early Friday morning.  "It is with the most heavy heart that I tell you K9 Laslo passed away this morning at 0115hrs," a post on Laslo's Facebook page said Friday morning. "There will be a piece of my heart always missing. To the best partner I ever had, R.I.P." 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Freeman Strong flag returned home after flying alongside Ol' Crimson

    Freeman Strong flag returned home after flying alongside Ol' Crimson

    Friday, October 19 2018 9:33 PM EDT2018-10-20 01:33:19 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - After the tragic events at Freeman High School last year, KHQ's Patrick Erickson passed along a Freeman Strong flag to the Ol' Crimson team, who waved it behind College GameDay sets across the country.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - After the tragic events at Freeman High School last year, KHQ's Patrick Erickson passed along a Freeman Strong flag to the Ol' Crimson team, who waved it behind College GameDay sets across the country.

    >>
  • Second Detroit funeral home found to contain remains of fetuses and infants

    Second Detroit funeral home found to contain remains of fetuses and infants

    Friday, October 19 2018 9:29 PM EDT2018-10-20 01:29:03 GMT

    About 36 fetuses and infants have been removed from a Detroit funeral home, the second facility where remains have been improperly disposed.    Detroit police raided Perry Funeral Home on Friday and found the remains. Jason Moon of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs says the remains were found in three unrefrigerated boxes. 

    >>

    About 36 fetuses and infants have been removed from a Detroit funeral home, the second facility where remains have been improperly disposed.    Detroit police raided Perry Funeral Home on Friday and found the remains. Jason Moon of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs says the remains were found in three unrefrigerated boxes. 

    >>
  • Plane with student pilot aboard makes emergency landing on California freeway

    Plane with student pilot aboard makes emergency landing on California freeway

    Friday, October 19 2018 8:44 PM EDT2018-10-20 00:44:36 GMT
    Courtesy of Keri Pate DeckerCourtesy of Keri Pate Decker

    A small plane with a student pilot on board made an emergency landing in the middle of traffic on a Southern California freeway. The California Highway Patrol says the plane landed safely in the westbound lanes of Interstate 8 in El Cajon on Friday morning after reporting engine trouble.    Authorities say the single-engine Piper was carrying a 25-year-old pilot and a 36-year-old student. 

    >>

    A small plane with a student pilot on board made an emergency landing in the middle of traffic on a Southern California freeway. The California Highway Patrol says the plane landed safely in the westbound lanes of Interstate 8 in El Cajon on Friday morning after reporting engine trouble.    Authorities say the single-engine Piper was carrying a 25-year-old pilot and a 36-year-old student. 

    >>