FACT: The School District Can Restrain Disabled Children

Local ‘Controversy’ Is Not News, It’s Clickbait.

Fact The School District Can Restrain Disabled Children

Fact The School District Can Restrain Disabled Children

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL – Boca Post (BocaPost.com) — The School District of Palm Beach County is not weighing a decision to place children into straight jackets or other restraints as that decision has been made more than 10 years ago.

A local ‘real journalist’, who is known for fabricating controversies, smearing the reputations of others, and promoting clickbait for profit has spread yet another lie recently which has caused many parents to be upset.

Late last month, the Delray-based ‘Boca news website’ published a story claiming that the district was voting on whether or not staffers would be given the authority to restrain disabled children in zip ties, handcuffs, or even straight jackets. The ‘news website’ claimed to have an ‘advanced copy’ of Policy 5.181 which was to be considered at the upcoming April 13th meeting.

While the basis of the article is false, there is some truth to Policy 5.181. The district’s policy is real. The ‘advanced copy’ distributed by the local news site was actually taken from the original policy put in place more than 10 years ago. The original policy was approved by the district to accommodate FSS 1003.573 which was put into law in 2010.

1003.573 is the Florida State Statue around ‘Seclusion and restraint of students with disabilities in public schools’. This is where the language about handcuffs, straight jackets, and zip ties originally came from. This is the same language found in the false news article claiming that is to be ‘considered’ by the district at the April 13th meeting.

Part of the actual law, FSS 1003.573, from 2010, is the same as the policy allegedly being ‘considered’, according to the fake news outlet:

Authorized school personnel may use restraint only when all positive behavior interventions and supports have been exhausted. Restraint may be used only when there is an imminent risk of serious injury and shall be discontinued as soon as the threat posed by the dangerous behavior has dissipated. Techniques or devices such as straightjackets, zip ties, handcuffs, or tie downs may not be used in ways that may obstruct or restrict breathing or blood flow or that place a student in a facedown position with the student’s hands restrained behind the student’s back. Restraint techniques may not be used to inflict pain to induce compliance.

Why is PBCSD talking about this 10-year-old policy now? Laws Change.

In June of 2021, Governor DeSantis approved a new law, Chapter 2021-140, which was passed unanimously by the Florida Senate.

The new law amends FSS 1003.573 and changes the language used quite a bit. The most notable changes introduced in the new law are:

  • Prohibits the use of seclusion on students
  • Revises provisions relating to the use of restraint on certain students
  • Provides DOE, school district, school, & personnel requirements
  • Provides for placement of video camera in specified classrooms;
  • Provides requirements for such placement;
  • Requires continuing education & in-service training for teaching students with emotional or behavioral disabilities.