LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools employees are taught to restrain students who might be a danger to themselves or others. In the last two school years at JCPS, restraints were used 8,537 times.
"That's certainly a number we are looking at across the district to see how we can bring that down or we can better train our staff to know when appropriate and not," JCPS Spokesperson Allison Martin said.
The restraints and seclusions in the last two years led to 149 injuries.
"The vast majority of those are scratches and bruises. Or, if there's a red mark, we document everything when it comes to the safety of our children," Martin said.
One of those restraints almost killed Brennan Long, who was 16 years old when he was restrained in 2014. Documents show that a teacher's assistant put Long in a cradle assist restraint at the Binet School. Long ended up in intensive care with two broken femurs.
"Think about it - 8,500 times over a two year period, somebody put hands on a child and most of those were special needs children," Brian Long, Brennan's father said. "That's a lot of restraints."
Brennan's parents eventually settled with the district for $1.75 million. They are now on a crusade to raise awareness about restraints on students.
"I think the answer for JCPS, instead of worrying about SCM or restraining the children or controlling physically, would be to train their staff and how to manage them behaviorally using other techniques," Long said.
JCPS spokeswoman Allison Martin believes verbal deescalation is the goal. Over the summer, safe crisis management has been reviewed. But, Martin said it's not so simple.
"What a lot of people don't realize is JCPS has some different schools within our school system. We have some schools that take care of severely disabled children - physically, but also emotionally."
According to JCPS in the 2015-2016 school year, there were 4,134 restraints on 1,075 students.
Over the past three years, JCPS has paid a total of $55,000 for this training.
The Long family said that training came at too high of a cost.