What are the issues?
Asking a parent for consent to use time-out “rooms” or restraint to respond to students’ behaviors is not uncommon. Parents should be extremely wary of giving blanket consent for these procedures because repeated use of time-out as a behavior management strategy has limited effect. Additionally, use of restraint may not be safe to both children and teachers. Students’ IEP Teams have a responsibility to carefully consider the communication, social and learning needs of students whose behavior may interfere with their learning or cause disruptions in the classroom. These “special considerations” provide a way for you to make sure that you know how school staff deals with crisis situations in your school. You need to know what kind of procedures are used, who is trained and authorized to use them and, most important, under what circumstances? Not everyone is going to agree on what a “crisis” might be. Students can and have been restrained and placed into time-out for behaviors that are annoying, disruptive and unpleasant, but not dangerous. Discuss what constitutes a “crisis” with the IEP Team.
Some possible responses:
“I cannot give you permission to force my child to go into a time-out room. There is too much risk involved for both my child and for school staff members. I need to know who in this school is trained to assist teachers and children when there is a genuine crisis. I also need to know from the IEP Team what strategies, interventions and supports are going to be developed and used so that my child has an effective Positive Behavior Support plan in place.”
“I cannot give you permission to force my child into a time-out room. If there are new behaviors that are of concern to the IEP Team, then we need to act quickly to bring a behavior professional into the class to help us determine what may be happening to cause these behaviors so that we can change what’s happening and help my child cope better.”