Skip to:

Restraint & Seclusion Issues « Disabilities – Education

Stop restraint & seclusion



Court Cases, Legislation, Articles and Publications,
Regarding Restraint and Seclusion in Schools



Court Cases and Legislation

  • Bryant v. NY State Education Department (U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals – 8/20/12)
    The court ruled that neither IDEA nor the Constitution invalidates the New York statute. This decision may have significance for the ongoing debate over the abuse of seclusion and restraints on children with disabilities.
  • C.N. vs. Willmar Public Schools, et al
    Because a third-grader's BIP allowed her teacher to use seclusion and restraint as behavior management techniques, a parent could not show that the teacher's use of those techniques violated the child's constitutional rights. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision that the teacher was entitled to qualified immunity on the parents' Section 1983 claims.
  • Keeping All Students Safe Act (S.2020)
    The purpose of this Act is to protect students from dangerous restraint and seclusion. The bill will establish vitally-needed national minimum standards to protect all school children nationwide. See Background and other information regarding Seclusion and Restraint.
  • S.3895Keeping All Students Safe Act (Our Children Left Behind)
    Our concerns about S.3895 are driven in part by our experiences with the IEP process and with how documentation works in the real school world. We know from our own experiences that the IEP process is heavily weighted toward the views and intentions of school personnel rather than parents. We are not comfortable with a system that relies on the IEP process alone to determine whether restraint/seclusion plan should be embedded into a student’s IEP.


  • How Safe is the Schoolhouse? (Jessica Butler – 7/7/12)
    Seclusion and restraint are highly dangerous interventions that have led to death, injury and trauma in children. No federal laws protect America's 55 million school children from seclusion/restraint. With no single federal law, American children are covered by a patchwork of state laws, regulations, nonbinding guidelines and even silence. This report focuses on state restraint/seclusion laws and policies that impact children with disabilities.
  • Keeping All Students Safe (Our Children Left Behind)
    Often, when negotiating over state or federal legislation or even school district policy, aimed at promoting the use of restraint and other forms of aversive (read: abusive) tactics against children with disabilities, lawmakers, administrators and others want to propose to us the “worst case scenario.” Even if they do not call it a “worst case scenario,” you can sense its nature through its hopeless air, its lack of salient details and its characterization of a person with a disability as an object of fear and a ticking time bomb, ready to “go off” at any minute.
  • Miller Bill: Letter to COPAA requesting they remove sponsorship for the Miller Bill
    (Dee Alpert, The Stan Appell-Jean Alpert School Restraints and Abuse Fund)
  • Mother of Special-ed Boy Who Was Restrained and Secluded Advocates For Disciplinary Law (Washington Post – 7/12/12)
    Parents urged Congress on Thursday to limit the ability of state school systems to have special education students physically restrained while in class. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions convened a hearing Thursday that was meant to raise awareness of how much physical force is used when disciplining students. The committee is considering a bill that calls for restraining or secluding students only if they might physically injure other students.
  • Restraint in the Shadows  (EdSource)
    An EdSource Today report on the use of restraints and seclusion in California special education classrooms.
  • Seclusion, Restraints & Students with Disabilities ( – 8/17/12)
    A new report from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has made public that 70% of the public school students subjected to physical restraint and seclusion are students with disabilities.


  • Forensic Interviews of Children Who Have Developmental Disabilities – Part 1 and Part 2
    Patti's Comments: If you ever feel you are dealing with situation re: a child who may have been abused in a school or elsewhere, you should read this free article and provide cc's of them to any police and prosecutors who may be dealing with (or trying to avoid dealing with) the case. I would especially recommend this if you believe a child has been abused via school restraint/seclusion or, as we hear more and more often lately, a kid who has been duct-taped to some chair or plain old slapped or punched around by a paraprofessional or aide.. At least it may help in getting cops and prosecutors to take these cases seriously.
  • How Safe is the Schoolhouse? An Analysis of State Seclusion and Restraint Laws and Policies (Jessica Butler – 7/7/12).
    The purpose of the report is to describe and analyze the laws in the 50 states & D.C. relating to restraint and seclusion, and to analyze the effect that the national Congressional bills have had on state laws, regulations, and policies over the last 2 years.
  • Restraint and Seclusion: Resource Document (U.S. Dept. of Education – 5/15/12)
    The foundation of any discussion about the use of restraint and seclusion is that every effort should be made to structure environments and provide supportsso that restraint and seclusion are unnecessary. As many reports have documented, the use of restraint and seclusion can, in some cases, have very serious consequences, including, most tragically, death.  There is no evidence that using restraint or seclusionis effective in reducing the occurrence of the problem behaviors that frequently precipitate the use of such techniques.
  • TASH Responds to AASA Position Supporting Restraint (3/13/12)
    Last week, the American Association of School Administrators issued an unsubstantiated, ill-informed and reckless report [Keeping Schools Safe: How Seclusion and Restraint Protects Students and School Personnel] in which it voiced support for restraint and seclusion use on children in our schools. This report gained much attention through e-mail circulation and national news reports. TASH has responded in order to bring clarity and truth to the conversation.
  • USDOE Issues '15 Principles" – A Good Start, but Not Enough to Ensure Equal Protection (COPAA – May 2012)
    On Tuesday the US DOE issued a 45 page “Resource Document”on the use of restraint and seclusion.  COPAA is pleased that the Department took a clear stance that restraint and seclusion are dangerous, have no evidence base demonstrating effectiveness in reducing problem or challenging behaviors that frequently precipitate the use of such techniques, and should never be used unless absolutely necessary to protect a child or others from imminent danger of serious physical harm.