Creating a Collaborative Culture

Using Policy to Reduce Restraint and Seclusion in the Schools

Restraint and seclusion policies in schools have become a hot topic across the nation. Join our panelists as we discuss what these policies are meant to do, what steps should be taken before a student is put in a restraint or secluded, and how to work with your local school to make sure your policies are being followed.

Resources and Links from the Presentation

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Session Presenters

Holly Giglio


Holly is a parent of a child with complex special needs and grew up around other family members with a variety of disabilities. She has worked as a Certified Family Support Partner working with families who have children with mental health care needs, is a cofounder of the Special Education Parents’ Alliance parent group, served 3 years on the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities, and is currently the President of Camp Hayden. Holly has built her life around her passion for helping others.  She spends many hours as a Parent Advocate helping other families navigate through the school process for special education services.

Joe Gonzalez

Parent Education Coordinator, Idaho Parents Unlimited (IPUL)

Joe was born and raised in Idaho’s Magic Valley, a 3rd generation Idahoan. He is  a brother and a United States Marine Corps combat veteran. Upon completing his term of service in 2008, which included a deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Joe unexpectedly found himself working at a Head Start Program in Twin Falls. He quickly realized working with families and children from historically underserved communities was something he loved and wanted to continue to pursue. After a short break from the work, he returned to working in a Head Start program, as an assistant, and eventually transitioned to a family advocate role.  After dedicating six years to Head Start, Joe made the move working for a Developmental Disability Agency and becoming a Habilitative Support staff and most recently has landed with Idaho Parents Unlimited, where he has been for the last two years. In this role, Joe has encountered unique barriers specific to the disability community, and has grown both personally and professionally as he has worked to provide families with the resources and service they deserve.

Courtney Holthus, Esq.

Advocacy Director, DisAbility Rights Idaho (DRI)

Courtney is an Attorney as well as the Advocacy Director with DisAbility Rights Idaho (DRI). In addition to representing clients in guardianship, disability discrimination, and Medicaid appeal cases, she has also worked on various public policy issues through the state administrative rule and statutory change process. Courtney completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and graduated with a law degree from the University of South Dakota. In addition to being an avid Nebraska Cornhuskers fan, (GO BIG RED!), Courtney spends her free time enjoying the Idaho outdoors with her family.

Renee Miner

Associate Director, Special Education Support & Technical Assistance (SESTA), Boise State University (BSU)

Renee has expertise in behavior, programming and interventions for students with Autism and low-incidence disabilities. She was a past state coach working for the Professional Development in Autism and Low Incidence Disabilities (PD-ALI) Project, the Idaho Autism Project through the Center on Disabilities and Human Development (CDHD), University of Idaho, and a state coach for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Renee is dedicated to help schools develop system-based supports for programs and individuals.

Charlie Silva, Ph.D.

Director of Special Education, Idaho State Department of Education

Since moving to Idaho in 2000, Charlie has worked as an Assistant Professor at Boise State University, was the Administrator of Special Education for the Boise School District and for the past 5 years has been the Idaho State Department of Education Director of Special Education Services. In her capacity as state director, she and her team are responsible for providing guidance and support to the 170+ Local Education Agencies (districts)/Charters across the state.  She is passionate about making sure the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is followed and -“to enable all students to achieve high academic standards and quality of life, the Special Education department works collaboratively with districts, agencies and parents to ensure students receive quality, meaningful, and needed services.”

Therese Varela

Advocate Supervisor, DisAbility Rights Idaho (DRI)

Therese Varela is a parent of a child with a disability. She has worked with DRI since December 1984, when she began the Pocatello DRI office. In addition to providing supervision to advocates and maintaining an active caseload, she manages eight of the agencies federal grants and the data collection system. Therese began her advocacy career in San Francisco at the age of 16 with one of the first Centers for Independent Living (CIL) while she attended Cal State Hayward. She moved to Idaho in the early 80’s to continue her advocacy work at the first CIL in Idaho and soon after joined the DRI team. Therese is an avid cook and chocolatier and loves spending time with her 5 children and 11 grandchildren.