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A new report from the Missouri Disability Foundation shows the alarming use of seclusion and restraint in Missouri schools – now public for the very first time. The use of seclusion and restraint can look like holding a child down, restricting their mobility, and putting them in isolated rooms they cannot leave. These practices can traumatize and endanger children, especially children with disabilities. According to the most recent national data from the U.S. Department of Education,  80% of students subjected to physical restraint have disabilities and 77% of students subjected to seclusion have disabilities. 

Graphic by Missouri Disability Foundation

This new state-level data shows 4,751 incidents of physical restraint by Missouri schools from July to December 2022. It also reveals 2,880 incidents where children were placed in forced seclusion. The vast majority of these situations happened in the classroom or school hallways. Though most cases of seclusion and restraint lasted less than 30 minutes, some incidents lasted for more than three hours.   

While the use of seclusion and restraint is not illegal, it should only be used when there is imminent danger of physical harm to self or others. Far too often, vulnerable children are subjected to harmful and even illegal seclusion and restraints in their schools. 

Our attorneys are experts in education and civil rights law. If you or someone you know has been a victim of harmful restraint and seclusion practices in schools, we may be able to help. Fill out a questionnaire so we can better understand your case.