Safe De-Escalation Space and Rooms

In Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) we serve students with a disability(ies) that can manifest itself in unsafe physical externalizing behaviors that puts a child’s safety at risk or the safety of others at risk. Our staff recognize the behavior is rooted in the student’s disability and therefore use positive behavior interventions throughout the day to minimize the possibility of a student expressing his/her needs through unsafe externalizing behaviors. Please see CVUSD description of Social-Emotional Specialized Program for additional information about positive reinforcement strategies.

At times, even when positive behavior interventions are employed, a student does present with physically unsafe behavior that compromises their safety or the safety of others. When this happens, designated staff are trained in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NCI) to respond, which always begins with verbal de-escalation strategies. If the behavior persists and staff observe that there is a significant threat of safety to self or others, NCI trained staff may use a transport, restraint or a safe de-escalation space or room to minimize safety risk. Please see the NCI training manual for details about a transport and restraint.

A safe de-escalation space within a Specialized Program classroom is a designated area free from items that might be used to injure oneself or another. The space also provides the student with privacy from other students in the classroom. When the safe de-escalation space is used, one adult is always with the student and provides supportive verbal prompts to guide the student to safe behavior. Safe de-escalation spaces are at Glenwood Elementary, Maple Elementary, Ladera Elementary, Redwood Middle School, Los Cerritos Middle School and Thousand Oaks High School. Access to the safe de-escalation spaces can be self-initiated by the student, verbally prompted by the teacher, or via a NCI 2-person transport. A 2-person transport is a last resort and only when the student presents with physical behavior that is observed to be a significant safety risk.

At Glenwood Elementary, there are two safe de-escalation rooms located within a larger room adjacent to the Social-Emotional Specialized Program classrooms. The safe de-escalation rooms are used as a last resort. The rooms have padding on the walls to reduce the potential for injury. The doors to the rooms are approximately half height and the doors do not lock. When a student is in a safe de-escalation room, two adults are always present. At least one adult remains inside the room with the student and provides supportive verbal prompts to guide the student to safe behavior. A second adult is either inside the room, or on the other side of the door providing sensory supplies or other materials designed to assist the student to safe behavior. Staff are continuously assessing the situation and minimize time a student is in a safe de-escalation room. As soon as the student is observed to no longer present with a significant safety threat to themselves or others, the student is prompted to exit the room and staff provide immediate positive reinforcement. It is important to note that the safe de-escalation rooms at Glenwood are also used as sensory rooms and students can self-initiate access to the rooms. When a student self-initiates access, a specialized program staff member is always present with the student.

At Los Cerritos Middle School, there are 3 rooms inside a larger room, which is adjacent to the Social-Emotional Specialized Program classrooms. These rooms were remodeled during the Summer of 2019 to provide the students with a safe and distraction free space. Students can self-initiate access to the rooms or teachers can verbally prompt students to the room. If a situation arises where staff observe a student to present with significant externalizing physical behaviors that poses an immediate safety threat to self or others, one of the rooms may be utilized as a safe de-escalation room. Use of a safe de-escalation room is a last resort and never used for punishment.

If a NCI medium to high level transport, restraint and/or use of the safe de-escalation room occur, staff is required to complete a Behavior Emergency Report (BER, Ventura County Special Education Local Plan Area template and Positive Behavior Interventions Handbook pgs. 54-58). This form is maintained in the student’s records and provides details on the student’s behavior and staff response. District staff are required to inform parents about any emergency responses within one school day. Parents can request a copy of the BER at any time.