Schools: Positive Behavioral Supports, Corporal Punishment, and Prone Restraint

Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS) or Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) programs are based on the idea that “much of human behavior is learned, comes under the control of environmental factors, and can be changed.” PBS is not a new idea; it is backed by extensive research and theory in numerous settings. Whole SchoolPositive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (the approach used in NC) is a systematic approach that establishes and reinforces clear behavioral expectations. Universal interventions are used with the entire school, including clear, consistent rules, skills instruction, systematic reinforcement, and parent and community involvement. More problematic behaviors are addressed with additional instruction, reinforcement, and classroom coaching. Functional behavior assessments and behavior intervention planning are used for more intensive individual interventions.

Here are the highlights of North Carolina’s program:

  • It is a team-based system involving the entire school staff using a systems approach.
  • The school staff must adopt a common approach to discipline that is proactive, instructional, and outcome-based.
  • The data about the school is used to guide decision-making.
  • The school team looks at the entire school campus and the whole school day.
  • The goal is to help educate all students, even students with challenging behaviors.
  • Continuous, data-based improvement -- individualized to each school – is emphasized.
  • PBIS is also an instructional approach that focuses on systematically teaching social behavior using effective instructional methodology.
  • Systematically teaching and implementing behavioral interventions for the most difficult students is also a key component.

Corporal punishment for students with disabilities has been effectively banned (caregivers can opt out) in North Carolina, but ASNC feels it is important to extend this to all children and promote better ways of teaching and learning good behavior in school.

Prone restraint is currently a legal method of physically controlling children in which the child is pinned facedown. A recent report released by Disability Rights North Carolina cites the dangers of this practice, especially when performed by inadequately trained staff. DRNC and ASNC are working with schools to voluntarily ban the practice and promote safe interventions.