Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in Special Ed Connection.
Charter school operators treasure their autonomy from the regular public school system. Thus, one might suppose that charter school officials in Ohio were glad that the state board of education's new policy on restraint and seclusion does not apply to them.
The policy was adopted January 15 by a vote of 12-4. An accompanying rule is now being reviewed by a legislative committee.
In fact, charter schools didn't ask to be exempted and were surprised the board left them out, according to Stephanie Klupinski, vice president for legislative and legal affairs at the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
"It's not entirely clear to me why charters were not included in the policy," she said. "It could be just an oversight."
Charter schools weren't looking for an out, agreed Terry Ryan, vice president for Ohio programs and policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
The institute is a supporter of the charter schools movement and a sponsor, i.e., authorizer, of several Ohio charters.
Adopting limits on the use of restraint and seclusion by districts "was the proper and appropriate move for the state board to make," Ryan said, and "as a matter of principle, it should extend to the charter schools."
Any such extension should take into account the particular needs of the charter school community, Ryan said.
For example, it is not clear how such a policy would work at a charter school...