Public schools in the country may receive federal guidance for restraint and seclusion for the first time ever — which would be a major gain for students with disabilities.
Seclusion is when a student is isolated from other classmates, and restraint is when a student is physically held down by teachers or administrators while at school. In both cases, these instances are said to occur because of a need to address a behavioral issue.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, more than 122,000 public school children were restrained or secluded while in school during the 2015-2016 school year. In seclusion cases, 61 percent were children with disabilities and in restraint cases, 71 percent.
In an article posted by Disability Scoop in April, students with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by seclusion and restraint practices. Though just 12 percent of students were served by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in the 2015-2016 school year, and just another 2 percent under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, these same children made up 28 percent of referrals to law enforcement or school-related arrests, 26 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 24 percent of expulsions.
Now, lawmakers are working to decrease these numbers. The Keeping All Students Safe Act resurfaced in November after a five-year hiatus. The Act would bar seclusion in public schools, and for restraint, offer more clear guidelines and prevention strategies.
At our law firm, we have extensive experience in defending children who have been harmed in their schools, including those with disabilities. Our attorneys have handled every angle of education law. If you or someone you know has been harmed in the classroom and/or denied their rights as students, Kennedy Hunt P.C. has the years of experience to help you. Fill out a questionnaire and contact us.