I’m curious about the credentials of the newspaper’s editorial board after reading the April 28 editorial regarding the use of physical restraint in our schools (”Our View: Extreme student interventions should only be used in emergencies”). I’m assuming they’re the same as mine.

Stating that “in most cases there’s a way to respond before the situation gets too bad” pretends that these situations unfold slowly and teachers are just missing the signs. It also ignores the reality of special needs children and that their impulsive actions are often not predictable.

It goes on to state that “these restraints are rarely effective in the long run,” as if schools don’t know this and have taken a position that it’s part of the cure.

Both of these positions show a lack of understanding for those who work every day in an increasingly difficult profession. By minimizing the challenges schools face managing behaviors of all kinds, the importance of sober thought and honest conversation is magnified.

Maybe we’re already doing our best in those volatile situations. Maybe what needs more sober thought and honest conversation is not how we restrain the ones who may hurt themselves or others, but how little restraint is permitted in managing the negative behaviors of regular students.

The more that team building disappears at home, the more we need that focus in school. If you want the state to build awareness and provide training, then advocate for a way to provide all kids the lessons they aren’t getting elsewhere.

And may I suggest visiting a school next time. Then after you’ve brought your clipboard to the special ed rooms and met the saints that work there, walk down the hall and into the other classrooms. You may find more urgent things to write about there.

Brian Heath


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