Seclusion and Restraint

Last Updated: April 27, 2011

This article appeared in the April 2011 Rural Policy Matters.

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One of Florida’s largest school districts is proposing strict limits on how often the “prone” restraint hold can be used on special education students after a number of reports showed that the practice was causing injuries within the state and deaths across the country. The proposed policy change also explicitly bans mechanical restraints and the use of seclusion when dealing with students.

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The Oregon House of Representatives has passed a bill limiting the use of seclusion and restraints in the state’s schools and requiring schools to meet with parents following incidents where these techniques were used on their child. A disability rights group has estimated that as many as 10,000 incidents of seclusion and restraint are occurring in Oregon schools every year.

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Earlier this month U.S. Representative George Miller (D-CA) reintroduced the “Keeping All Students Safe Act,” which would place federal limits on the use of seclusion and restraints in schools. The bill passed the House last year but was never voted on in the Senate.

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International Report on Restraint and Seclusion in Schools

The international disability advocacy organization TASH has issued a report, The Cost of Waiting, which highlights continuing abuses of restraint and seclusion in schools.

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Read more from the April 2011 Rural Policy Matters.