Ime I don't think that many special needs students need someone who has been trained in safe restraints. I don't think that many special needs students are at risk for behavior that would reasonably lead to them needing to be restrained.
It is honestly odd to me and makes me wonder if they do enough of every other thing that is good to do.
In a well run program it should be extremely rare for this to be needed. And you should have mega support from your lead teacher.
Daria, I am glad to hear more about the training. It sounds good. It is food for thought that you are more concerned (or also very concerned) about seclusion. I am going to keep that in mind.
So, to be clear, CPI training in full is two 8 hour days, with about 4 hours of it spent on physical restraint.
The first day is almost completely on crisis prevention. What do you do when a kid shows signs of anxiety, that's likely to deescalate that anxiety? What do you do when an adult is showing signs that they're acting irrationally? How do you respond to these things in a way that reduces the likelihood that things will continue to escalate. The strategies are really good ones, and the course is structured so you can weave in information that's specific to the community you serve in. So, for example, you can talk about how to get the social worker to come to you.
There's also a section on how to respond to physical aggression without restraint. So, what to do if a kid gets a handful of your hair. Or what to do if a kid is being unsafe, and they're between you and someone you either need to protect (because CPI is really really really clear that you don't do anything physical unless the threat is to a human being), or to protect them from (e.g. kids is really close to the stairs), and you just need the kid to move to the other side of you, but don't want to restrain. Some of it is really simple stuff, that would be obvious in the moment, but because you're practicing the movements they'll become more automatic, and you're less likely to do something like pull away from a bite, or grab a wrist and jeopardize a kid's elbow joint.
There's an option at that point to stop the training. In most schools, or nursing homes, or other settings, that's as far as most people need to get, and when it was up to me, we'd have many people go that far, and then have the handful of people we really trusted (not first year staff, people who had shown themselves to be rock solid and who the kids trusted) learn techniques for physically managing a kid during a crisis.
Then the physical restraint, there's a lot of emphasis on ways to make it as safe as possible. Restraint is inherently dangerous. People die in the U.S. far too often because of restraint. So, making sure that you're absolutely sure you know what you're doing, and where your hands are and aren't, and who's watching the person and what they're watching for, and that it's something you only use when everything else has failed for as brief a period as possible, takes time.
And then there's a section on how to gather data, and reflect, and rebuild relationships after an incident. That's something that obviously needs to happen after any escalation, and they talk about it at all levels, but also obviously if things escalated to the point where people were touched without their consent, then that process is critical.
So, I agree with you that restraint should be incredibly rare. But, I think that, if the training is done right, and the school culture is right, CPI training can support that goal.