Special Education Report Roundup

Study on Restraints and Seclusion Stirs Alarm

By Christina A. Samuels — June 09, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A recent federal report outlined cases of abusive restraints and seclusion being used on students with disabilities, prompting U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to say that he wanted to hear from state schools chiefs on how they planned to ensure student safety.

The May 19 report from the Government Accountability Office was requested by U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. The report noted there were hundreds of cases of alleged abuse over the past 20 years, yet there are no federal policies on the use of such techniques and no agency that collects information on all the cases.

A handful of states keep their own statistics on how often restraints and seclusion are used on students. According to the report, from September 2007 to June 2008, Texas officials said they restrained 4,202 students 18,741 times. During the same period, California officials said they used restraints, seclusion, or emergency interventions 14,354 times on an unspecified number of students. The GAO also reported on 10 cases of seclusion and restraint, four of which resulted in death.

The day after the report’s release, members of the House education committee met with Mr. Duncan, who expressed “grave concern” about the findings.

“Children’s safety has to be our number one concern, before we think about educating them or doing other things,” Mr. Duncan told the committee.

Representatives from 40 advocacy organizations also brought up the issue of seclusion and restraints in a May 26 meeting at the White House. They urged the White House to consider federal action to prohibit such techniques from being used in schools as discipline.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the June 10, 2009 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Combatting Teacher Shortages: Strategies for Classroom Balance and Learning Success
Learn from leaders in education as they share insights and strategies to support teachers and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Reading Instruction and AI: New Strategies for the Big Education Challenges of Our Time
Join the conversation as experts in the field explore these instructional pain points and offer game-changing guidance for K-12 leaders and educators.
Education Webinar The K-12 Leader: Data and Insights Every Marketer Needs to Know
Which topics are capturing the attention of district and school leaders? Discover how to align your content with the topics your target audience cares about most. 

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education Opinion 'I Dread Being at This Table.' How to Improve the IEP Process
IEP meetings take an emotional toll on families. But they can be turned into a forum where hope for the possibilities of schooling prevail.
8 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Special Education Letter to the Editor Schools Must Do Better to Meet IDEA Requirements
More states must follow through on this law.
1 min read
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week
Special Education Test Your Knowledge: How Does Universal Screening for Dyslexia in Schools Work?
Take our quiz to gauge your knowledge of the language processing disorder—and find links to further reading.
1 min read
 Conceptual image of wooden alphabet tiles scattered across blue metallic surface.
Special Education Letter to the Editor Reevaluating My Language Around Disability
A recent opinion essay encouraged this teacher to unpack her approach to labeling students with specific disability classifications.
1 min read
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week