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Feds: Many states don’t regulate seclusion, restraint in schools

February 25th, 2010

From AP/Los Angeles Times:

A report from the U.S. Department of Education this weeks shows that 19 states do not in any way regulate their schools’ use of seclusion and restraints on misbehaving students. And even though 31 states do have some type of policy, the report found, many are weak and do not clearly spell out proper disciplinary procedures for teachers to follow.

Education Seretary Arne Duncan called for the assessment after congressional investigators disclosed evidence of widespread restraint and seclusion of students by school staff around the country, most of it involving students with disabilities. At least 20 deaths and many injuries were attributed to the practices.

For the first time, federal lawmakers are considering legislation that would prohibit restraint and seclusion in most circumstances and require training for educators on effective behavior management. The bill passed the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee earlier this month.

“Schools are the Wild West – anything goes,” said Leslie Lipson with the Georgia Advocacy Office, which is pushing for legislation that would ban both restraint and seclusion in Georgia. “We have seen instances of restraint and seclusion where teachers and other officials have used Velcro, duct tape, hog tying – kids locked in storage closets. All sorts of perversions.”

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More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

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