Education Secretary Arne Duncan has asked state education chiefs to review their policies on restraints and seclusion of students, and develop or revise policies as necessary to assure children are safe.
Duncan’s letter follows congressional testimony and a report by the Government Accountability Office that documented hundreds of allegations of school-related death and abuse since 1990. The majority of the allegations involved students with disabilities. The GAO found no federal laws restricting the use of seclusion and restraints in public and private schools, and widely divergent laws at the state level.
Duncan said he was “deeply troubled” by the testimony. He offered Illinois’ policy as a model, saying it includes a “strong focus upon Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) as well as state regulations that limit the use of seclusion and restraint under most circumstances.”
The July 31 letter asked states to respond by August 15.