During the 2013 Legislative Session, the Washington State Legislature passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1688 (“ESHB 1688”), creating several new requirements for public school districts that utilize restraint or isolation. Governor Jay Inslee signed ESHB 1688 on May 10th, with the new laws going into effect on July 28th, 2013.
ESHB 1688 creates several new reporting obligations for public schools that use restraint or isolation with students who have an individualized education program (“IEP”) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) or a plan under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504 Plan”). Districts must now adhere to a formal reporting/notification protocol following any incident of restraint or isolation for such students. After a student with an IEP or Section 504 Plan is restrained or isolated, the school must follow up with staff members, students, and parents to address the behavior that triggered the intervention and to review compliance with proper procedures. The principal/designee must also make a reasonable effort to verbally notify the student’s parent or guardian within 24 hours of the incident, followed by written notice within five (5) business days. If the school normally provides information to a parent in a language other than English, it must similarly provide notice of the restraint or isolation incident in that language. ESHB 1688 specifically requires that IEPs also include procedures for notification of a parent or guardian regarding the use of restraint or isolation.
Another significant change under ESHB 1688 includes the requirement that districts now create, maintain, and distribute a policy on the use of restraint and isolation with disabled students. Such policy must be provided to the parent or guardian of students with IEPs and Section 504 Plans at the time they are developed.
In response to the passage of ESHB 1688, the State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (“OSPI”) has also proposed several amendments to Chapter 392-172A WAC, the State’s special education regulations. First, OSPI has suggested that the definition of “aversive interventions” be changed to “the use of isolation or restraint practices for the purpose of discouraging undesirable behavior.”  OSPI has also proposed inclusion of the new parent/guardian notification requirement and the requirement that districts maintain policies regarding the use of isolation and restraint. Finally, OSPI has proposed that districts document the use of isolation or restraint in a student’s “aversive intervention plan.” 
In addition to changes directed at incorporating the new requirements under ESHB 1688, OSPI has also suggested the addition of language that focuses on the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, similar to references in the IDEA and corresponding federal regulations. See 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(3)(B)(i); 34 C.F.R. § 300.324(a)(2)(i). In particular, OSPI proposes that the regulations contain language requiring that aversive interventions be used “with the goal of teaching appropriate behaviors” and that the use of positive behavioral supports be considered a necessary part of each student’s IEP. 
OSPI’s proposed amendments are currently pending final approval but will likely be adopted on or around September 4th, 2013.
A model Isolation and Restraint Policy may be accessed here.
A model District Isolation/Restraint Reporting Form may be accessed here.
OSPI, Aversive Interventions Definition and Purpose (proposed July 17, 2013) (to be codified at WAC 392-172A-03120).
 OSPI, Aversive Interventions Definition and Purpose; Aversive Intervention Prohibitions; Aversive Interventions - Conditions (proposed July 17, 2013) (to be codified at WAC 392-172A-03120; 03125; 03135).
 OSPI, Aversive Interventions Definition and Purpose (proposed July 17, 2013) (to be codified at WAC 392-172A-03120).