Wednesday, November 10, 1999

School board ponders use
of force on unruly students

Any such policy should be sensitive to both
the rights of students, as well as the need to
protect, board members say

By Crystal Kua


The state Board of Education is looking into a policy to govern the use of force on unruly students.

Vice Chairwoman Karen Knudsen said yesterday that whether it's to prevent a student from hurting himself or someone else, the subject of force should be handled with sensitivity in any new policy adopted by the board.

"Anytime you use (force), we just need to make sure it's appropriate and not the first action you take," Knudsen said.

Such a policy should also take into account the civil rights of a student, members said.

Questions have come up from the schools on what can be done to restrain a student who intends to hurt himself or others.

The board currently doesn't have a policy on the use of force and the lack of a policy could open the Department of Education to liability to a lawsuit, members of the board's Student Services Committee said yesterday.

Department safety specialist Rodney Goo brought the subject before the committee while discussing security training he conducts for school officials.

"I have trouble teaching use of force because we don't have a use-of-force policy," Goo said.

Following the meeting, Goo said such a policy would apply to everyone within the department.

"We have to set a standard."

Other board members agreed that the policy is a good idea.

"I think it's essential we have this," board member Lex Brodie said.

Knudsen said the board will ask its staff to look into formulating such a policy.

E-mail to City Desk

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