School district to handcuff students only as last resort

AP News
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Posted: Jan 20, 2017 1:01 PM

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky school district has reached a settlement with the Justice Department to change how unruly students are subdued.

The Kentucky Enquirer (http://cin.ci/2iJTjV9) reports that the Children's Law Center announced the settlement Thursday, saying it would address concerns raised by a pending federal lawsuit over children being handcuffed in the Covington Independent School District.

That lawsuit was filed against the school resource officer and the Kenton County Sheriff's Department.

The Justice Department helped officials draft a new policy for next year that bans isolating students and says they may be physically restrained only as a last resort.

"The District shall prohibit the use of physical restraint unless necessary to address an imminent danger to the physical safety of a student or another person," the settlement stated.

It also restricts involvement of police officers to a serious situation that "constitutes an imminent and substantial threat to physical safety or a serious crime," according to the settlement.

The district must also appoint an "intervention coordinator" to better address student behaviors.

Students will be the ones to benefit from the settlement, Children's Law Center director Kim Tandy said in a statement.

"Reliance on more punitive measures has been ineffective and harmful to kids," Tandy said.

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Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com