By hiring three behavioral analysts, a school district has accomplished the goal of improving special education classrooms, curtailing violent outbursts, and protecting students and staff. The results have been seen in an improvement to classroom instruction, reduced staff injuries, and a savings of $250,000 to the school budget last year.
In Bristol, CT, the hiring of the specialists has helped principals and staff manage children with significant behavior challenges, according to Kim Hapken, director of special services and School Superintendent Ellen Solek
Recently Hapekn informed the Board of Education that 2 percent of the students with disabilities have been identified as emotionally disturbed. Those students are mostly educated in self-contained classrooms. Previously, one of the elementary schools had 6 students being served by one special education teacher and two paraprofessionals.
Because of some significant behavioral disturbances which generated 40 calls to 911, students being hospitalized, and suspended, it was necessary to intervene and find a new way of managing the classroom and the student outbursts. . Despite the staff’s training in de-escalation and restraint and seclusion, the children’s behavior was aggressive to a point where the staff had tremendous difficulty maintaining order and keeping others safe. Five staff injuries were reported that required medical followup, due to students assaulting staff. The injuries ranged from bites and bruises to a concussion.
The hiring of the specialists has resulted in greater classroom control, especially for that small group. Staff are given support for de-escalation of outbursts, and there is greater prevention and control.
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