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Personal Injury Attorneys | School Discipline

Personal Injury Attorneys Explain When School Discipline Crosses The Line

Personal injury attorneys defend the rights of students when public school disciplinary measures go too far. In 2012, Wisconsin enacted a new law which allows public schools to physically restrain or seclude a student if the student’s behavior is a “clear, present, and imminent risk to the physical safety of the student or others.” The law further specifies that any such action taken should represent the “least restrictive” course of action, and that the restraint or seclusion may only last as long as is “reasonably necessary” to resolve the threat. This leaves a lot of things open to interpretation, and that’s a source of concern for many Wisconsin parents worried about personal injury.

On February 9, 2016, groups representing the rights of disabled students, along with students and their parents went to the Capitol to address a list of concerns with legislators, presenting their arguments that this law leads to abusive treatment of all students and especially disabled students.

What The Law Allows

  • Seclusion – A school official can seclude a student in an unlocked room or other area. The secluded area must be visually monitored constantly by a school official. The student must have access to restrooms, drinking water, any needed medication, and any regularly scheduled meals.
  • Physical Restraint – Physical restraint is only to be used to end a physical danger to a student or others. The degree of force and duration of restraint are limited to only what is necessary to end that physical danger. In cases where medical considerations make physical restraint potentially harmful, it is not allowed.
  • Student With Disabilities – Any time physical restraint or seclusion is employed on a student with a disability, the education program team for that student must convene to discuss how alternative strategies could address the concern that caused this disciplinary action.
  • Parental Reporting – Any time seclusion or physical restraint is used on a student, that student’s parent(s) must be notified within one business day, and must be given access to the written report, which must be completed and available within two business days.

What The Law Prohibits

  • Endangering The Airway Or Circulation – Regardless of the circumstances, school officials may not use any kind of restraint that endangers a student’s airway or circulation, such as pressure on the neck, chest, throat, lungs, sternum, diaphragm, back, or abdomen.
  • Corporal Punishment – Under no circumstances may any action that constitutes corporal punishment be taken against any student.
  • Mechanical Or Chemical Restraint – Mechanical and chemical restraints are only allowed in the context of aiding a student with mobility or balance, and then, must be used under the supervision of medical or therapeutic staff. All other uses are prohibited.
  • Untrained School Officials – In general, school officials who have not been specifically trained in safe and appropriate use of physical restraint are prohibited from using physical restraint. An exception may be made in case of an emergency where no properly trained school official is available to help.

Your Children Have Rights

Your children have the right to go to school and not be injured. If you believe your child has been injured by an inappropriate use of discipline at school, the personal injury attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices are here to help. Contact us online or call us today at 608-256-8356 to discuss your child’s situation.