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‘Reasonable force’ policy is approved

The South Whidbey School Boards voted to adopt an updated policy on reasonable force and restraint Wednesday.

District Superintendent Fred McCarthy told board members that the district didn’t have a clear policy for the few times when it’s needed.

“This mainly deals with younger children who are, for whatever reason, posing a danger to themselves or others,” McCarthy said.

The new policy states that district staff can use reasonable force to maintain order or to prevent a student from harming him or herself, other students and school staff or property.

Physical force is reasonable when needed to prevent or minimize imminent bodily injury or substantial or great bodily harm to self or others, the new policy states. If de-escalation interventions have failed or are inappropriate, reasonable physical force may be used to protect district property.

Under the new policy, the district superintendent will annually report to the board on the use of force.

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