Disability Advocates Want Federal Action to Curtail Seclusion, Restraint of Students

ANGELA PASCOPELLA's picture
Monday, March 12, 2012

Tens of thousands of students, most of them disabled, are strapped down or physically restrained in school, and disability advocates hope that a new Education Department report detailing the practice of "seclusion and restraint" will spur federal action to end it.

The report, compiled and made public for the first time by the department's civil rights arm, shows that 70 percent of students subjected to the techniques have disabilities. There are no current federal standards on the use of the techniques in schools.

The American Association of School Administrators says they are a last resort in protecting students and faculty from physical harm and keeping some children with behavioral problems in schools who might otherwise go into residential institutions. Advocates for the disabled say the use of seclusion and restraint is too accepted in schools and has led to abuse. They want Congress or the department to help curtail the practice.

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