Until recently, the law pertaining to the use of restraints and seclusion during behavioral emergencies applied only to students with individualized education programs ("IEPs"). Effective January 1, 2019, educational providers now cannot use behavioral restraints or seclusion on any student unless certain circumstances exist. Assembly Bill 2657 ("AB 2657"), which adds sections 49005-49006 to the Education Code, was enacted in response to the California State Legislature’s concern about the increasing yet underreported use of restraints and seclusion on public school children, particularly the disproportionate use of such interventions on students with disabilities and students of color, especially African American males.
AB 2657 sets forth the following requirements:
AB 2657 also requires an LEA to annually report to the California Department of Education (“CDE”) on behavioral restraints and seclusion used on general education students, students with IEPs, and students with Section 504 plans, disaggregated by race/ethnicity and gender. CDE must post this data on its internet website. To date, CDE has not issued any directives on what reporting format it will require.
In light of these changes, LEAs should consider training their educational providers on the appropriate use of behavioral restraints and seclusion, including how and when to administer such interventions. LEAs also should start developing information databases from which they can develop reports to provide to CDE within three months of the end of the 2018-19 school year and subsequent school years.
If you have any questions regarding AB 2657 and the use of behavioral restraints, please contact one of our six offices.