Department of Education releases restraint and seclusion guidance document

The Department of Education released a resource document that addresses restraint and seclusion in public schools. The document urges schools to avoid using restraint and seclusion except in emergency situations when a student’s behavior threatens serious physical harm to self or others. It outlines 15 principles that should guide schools in development of policies and procedures relating to restraint and seclusion. The document describes what states have in place currently – policies, regulations, statutes, or guidelines or are silent on covering the use of restraint and seclusion – and provides an annotated list of documents concerning restraint and seclusion. The Arc and many other national organizations had urged the Department to issue strong formal guidance to schools about the use of these dangerous practices. Since the document is not official guidance, it is not enforceable and the Department will not actively distribute it to all school districts.
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