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Saturday, May 23, 2015

The New York City Department of Education Changes the Rules For Intervention and De-Escalation of Students in Behavioral Crises

Courtenaye Jackson-Chase, Carmen Farina, and others at the PEP

Let's see whether the DOE is serious about this De-escalation plan, and how its implemented.

Betsy Combier
Remember, words are cheap and all the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players...
"... They have their exits and their entrances, And one man [woman] in his [her] time plays many parts..."
Shakespeare, As You Like It, spoken by the melancholy Jaques in Act II Scene VII.

The Seven Ages of Man by William Mulready, 1838, illustrating the speech


Thursday, May 21, 2015, New York, NY— Legal Services NYC (LSNYC) applauds the actions of the New York City Department of Education’s Panel for Educational Policy, which voted unanimously last night to approve much-needed changes regarding intervention and de-escalation, and contacting 911 for students experiencing behavioral issues.
The vote comes as a result of a December 2014 settlement between the City of New York and LSNYC, which represented a group of students who had been improperly removed from school and taken by ambulance to city emergency rooms because of classroom behavior. That lawsuit was originally filed during the previous administration against the City of New York, the Department of Education, and the Fire Department.
In addition to providing guidance to New York City public school staff as to when school officials should call 911 for a child experiencing an emotional, behavioral, or psychiatric event, the new regulation will, for the first time, require all NYC public schools to develop and maintain a Crisis De-Escalation plan. The regulation will require staff to attempt to reach a parent and give them an opportunity to speak with their child, and to make every effort to de-escalate the behavior using strategies and interventions for behavioral crisis as well as the resources identified in the school’s Crisis De-Escalation Plan.
The new regulation further states that in no circumstance should 911 be used as a disciplinary measure because of a student’s behavior, and that following any crisis, school officials should meet with the parent (and student if appropriate) to discuss appropriate behavioral supports and interventions for the student.
“When I first came to Legal Services I was completely distraught,” said Rhonda Thurston, whose son was just five years old when the lawsuit was filed. “[The school] ended up calling the police on my son, they ended up sending my son to the psychiatric ward three different times. A child shouldn’t have to go through that.”
“Last night’s vote was an important step toward ending the practice of sending students to hospital emergency rooms unnecessarily,” said LSNYC SeniorStaff Attorney Nelson Mar. “This practice affects thousands of parents annually and costs the city millions in unnecessary medical costs. The new regulation, A411, will hopefully provide schools with much needed guidance on how to respond to students in crisis or engaging in serious disruptive behaviors.”
The new regulations will become effective on August 1, 2015. A copy of Chancellor’s Regulation A-411 is available here.

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