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What happens if a school restrains and injures a student?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2023 | personal injury |

Public schools in Michigan are required to provide access and accommodations for students regardless of their health concerns. With rare exceptions for those with unusual support needs, most young adults can count on receiving a reasonable and appropriate public education.

However, not all students thrive in a traditional academic environment, and those with learning disabilities or congenital conditions often struggle in school. Unfortunately, teachers and other professionals at educational institutions aren’t always appropriate when dealing with aggressive or non-compliant students.

Every year, a small number of students end up injured on school property because of inappropriate restraints or seclusion. In such scenarios, parents may have grounds to take legal action.

Michigan law limits the use of restraints and isolation

Especially when a student has a history of aggressive behavior or significant cognitive limitations, they are at elevated risk for inappropriate physical conduct from school staff and other professionals. Michigan state lawmakers sought to protect these vulnerable individuals by passing a law that limits the use of restraints and seclusion to emergencies and scenarios discussed in a student’s individualized education plan (IEP).

Unfortunately, for some teachers and support staff, restraints or seclusion are their go-to solution for students with behavioral issues. They might hold a student down in a chair, leading to a dislocated shoulder. They might lock a student in a room by themselves, where the student’s intense emotions result in severe self-injury.

Often, these scenarios do not comply with a student’s IEP and may also deviate from the emergency procedures for the use of restraints and seclusion in Michigan public schools.

Claims help families and change policy

There is nothing frivolous about bringing a claim against a public school that allowed workers to mistreat or injure a student. Family members that take action when a student gets hurt on school property can connect with compensation for the child’s injuries and also potentially help change the practices at that school so that no other students will endure the same misconduct in the future.

It can be very difficult for educational professionals to provide the right kind of support for students who have learning disabilities and emotional challenges. However, difficulty doing one’s job does not make it okay to neglect or harm a child. Fighting back with the assistance of a legal professional when inappropriate discipline or restraints lead to a child’s injury at school can benefit the affected family and others with students who are attending the same school system.



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