By Magen McCrarey
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The abolition of two positions, the assistant superintendent and director of assessment and accountability, both effective for the 2013-14 school year, were just two of the items approved by the Laurel County Board of Education at Monday’s meeting.
The Board also approved the newly created district athletic director position will be for 240 contract days per year and a stipend, also effective for the 2013-14 school year.
The Board also approved to adopt a revised policy for the use of physical restraint and seclusion in the district. This revised policy comes from 704 KAR 7:160, a policy and procedure approved by the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) following reports of the abuse of restraint and seclusion. The policy went into effect on Feb. 1, 2013 statewide, even though the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) had no regulation on the use of physical restraint or seclusion in public schools.
The district's new revised policy and procedure will be implemented by May, and the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) will provide training at that time, just days before school concludes for the summer.
Melissa Reynolds, Director of Special Education, said her staff have been highly trained on the subject of safety crisis management and have performed well in the past year since it's been implemented. "We're really ahead of the game on this, the only other triaging that we've not done is the training that everyone has to have, and that's coming from KDE in the form of a webinar," Reynolds said.
District Attorney Larry Bryson added that this new procedure envelopes not only students with special needs but all students within the district. So all faculty and staff must be aware of the legal steps following physical restraint or seclusion with any student."The biggest change is documentation," he said. After a child is restrained or secluded there is a debriefing period for all parties involved, parents then must be notified and if any injuries occurred during the incident law enforcement must be notified as well. "The safe thing to do now, because we haven't had new training, is probably to just not restrain or do not seclude until we've had proper training," Bryson said.
The KDE says this new regulation supports a positive approach to behavior that focuses on a school-wide systematic approach that embeds evidence based practices and data-driven decision-making to create a school environment conducive to learning. The new regulation upholds the limited use of physical restraints and that physical restraint may only be used if a student's behavior is an imminent danger of physical harm to oneself or others, or if less restrictive behavioral interventions have been ineffective in stopping the dangerous behavior, in addition to other situations where the student and others' safety is at risk. Physical restraint shall not be used in place of discipline, to force compliance, as a substitute for behavior support, to prevent property damage, as a routine safety measure or as a convenience for staff.
For more information about the revised policy and procedure visit education.ky.gov.
Agenda items also approved by the Board:
• Hacker Brothers contract for $194,760 for the construction of security entrances at Camp Ground, Hazel Green, Hunter Hills and Sublimity Elementary schools;
• The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act Grant for the 2013-14 school year;
• To appropriate $3,300 to the Agency for Substance Abuse Policy (Laurel County ASAP);
• The creation of 12 summer maintenance worker positions;
• The creation of a Chief Academic Officer position with a 240 days per-year contract and stipend effective for the 2013-14 school year.