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Published: Thursday, 7/11/2013

Sylvania student behavior policy to turn more proactive

BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Sylvania School District is preparing to adopt a policy about how to handle student behavioral issues.

School board members this week received a first draft of the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports and Limited Use of Restraint and Seclusion policy, crafted by Mikki Sujaritchan, director of disability services.

The district has had measures to prevent behavioral issues for two years, Ms. Sujaritchan said. The Ohio Department of Education mandated that a policy that uses positive intervention and support be in place before school begins Aug. 22.

All school staff are certified in Crisis Intervention Training, a method that uses calming tactics when dealing with a person in crisis.

For example, one proactive approach is to prevent lunchroom scuffles by placing monitors around the room, instead of breaking-up a fight after the fact. Or, if a child is known to have outbursts in class, instead of sending the child away to suspension, the staff prescribes a plan for the student to manage his behavior so it does not break the school’s code of conduct or disrupt class, Ms. Sujaritchan said.

The 10-page proposed policy includes annual reporting to the Ohio Department of Education instances where physical restraint was used as a prevention measure, Ms. Sujaritchan said. Physical restraint would include blocking someone’s hand to prevent a student from doing something harmful to themselves or others, she said. The district would create a a tracking system for such restraint.

A district-wide Functional Behavioral Assessment document also is being drafted by a team of psychologists and special education coordinators. It will help document how often behavioral issues happen with a student, where, when, and the consequences. The information will be used to coordinate a positive intervention plan that is individual to that student.

Ms. Sujaritchan said that the district does not have a large percentage of students who are suspended or expelled because of behavioral issues.

“But when it does happen, we do examine why it happens, and we look at how we can change our code of conduct,” she said.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or ntrusso@theblade.com



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