Restraint & Seclusion

What Has Happened in Georgia?
  • On February 12, 2014, the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee released a report, Dangerous Use of Seclusion and Restraints in Schools Remains Widespread and Difficult to Remedy: A Review of Ten Cases.
  • Updated March 22, 2015!  How Safe is the Schoolhouse? An Analysis of State Seclusion and Restraint Policies by Jessica Butler.  This report has been updated to include changes made through March 18, 2015 to state seclusion and restraint laws and policies. 
  • On May 13, 2010, a rule that would ban the use of seclusion and restrict the use of restraint on all public school students in Georgia was introduced by the State Board of Education.  The rule was adopted by the Board on July 8, 2010 and went into effect on July 29, 2010.
  • On February 24, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education released a summary of state laws, regulations, policies and guidelines regarding the use of restraint and seclusion techniques in schools.
  • On December 9, 2009, federal legislation was introduced in both the United States House of Representatives (H.R. 4247) and the United States Senate (S.2860) that was designed to protect all children in schools from misuse of restraint and seclusion.  These pieces of legislation, entitled “Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act” were the first national efforts to prevent and reduce these harmful practices in schools. On February 4, 2010, the House Education and Labor Committee passed H.R. 4227 by a vote of 34 to10.
  • In 2009, the Georgia Department of Education began work to develop a State Education Rule that would regulate the use of “Seclusion and Restraint for All Students”. 
  • In October 2008, the Georgia Department of Education finalized Guidelines on the Use of Restraint and Monitored Seclusion which were disseminated to school systems throughout the state.
What Is Happening Nationally?

The United States Department of Education released a Restraint and Seclusion Resource Document in May 2012.  This document outlined fifteen principles that state and local school systems should follow when considering the use of restraint and seclusion procedures.

In September 2012, a letter was sent to Congress expressing concern over the significant use of restraint and seclusion.  The letter, which was signed by over 200 national and state/local organizations, asked Congress to support legislation to protect school children.  The letter was sent to Senator Harkin (Chair, Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee), Senator Enzi (Ranking Member, HELP Committee), Congressman Kline (Chair, Education and Workforce Committee) and Congressman Miller (Ranking Member, Education and Workforce Committee) as well as all members of the Senate HELP and House Education and Workforce Committees.

In September 2012, the Autism National Commitee compiled a State Fact Sheet that provides these and more details about the current use of restraint and seclusion across the country.

What Do I Need to Know?
  • Children with disabilities are subjected to restraint and seclusion in schools more than children without disabilities.  The use of restraint and seclusion with students with disabilities is often for behaviors over which they have little or no control.
  • There is no research that shows that the use of restraint or seclusion is beneficial for children.  In fact, “research confirms that physical restraint and seclusion are not therapeutic; nor are these practices effective means to calm or teach children, and may have an opposite effect while simultaneously decreasing a child’s ability to learn.”  (H.R.4247)
How Can I Learn More?

Several publications have been released that provide information and details about the use of restraint and seclusion in schools and the adverse effects on children and youth.  Below are some of these reports that can provide you with more information about these practices.

Policy on Physical Restraint and Seclusion Procedures in School Settings (The Council for Exceptional Children)

School Is Not Supposed to Hurt:  Investigative Report on Abusive Restraint and Seclusion in Schools and School is Not Supposed to Hurt: Update on Progress in 2009 to Prevent and Reduce Restraint and Seclusion in Schools (National Disability Rights Network)

Seclusions and Restraints: Selected Cases of Death and Abuse at Public and Private Schools and Treatment Centers (United States Government Accountability Office)

Unsafe in the Schoolhouse: Abuse of Children with Disabilities (The Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys, Inc.)

How Safe is the Schoolhouse: An Analysis of State Seclusion and Restraint Laws and Policies (The National Autism Committee, April 2012)

In addition to Parent to Parent, Who Can I Contact for More Information?

Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University

Georgia Advocacy Office

Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities

Institute on Human Development and Disabilities at the University of Georgia