« Ed. Dept. Offers Guidance on Supporting Communications Needs of Students | Main | Reports Shed Light on Special Education Woes in Boston, Washington State »

Restraint and Seclusion Rates Remain Relatively Steady Despite Policy Changes

Nearly half of the states have updated their policies on restraint and seclusion as disciplinary methods between the two most recent data collections conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights. But the use of restraint or seclusion has remained "relatively consistent," according to a report from researchers based at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham. 

In the report, released Oct. 28, researchers compared data taken from the 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection, which compiled data from nearly 7,000 school districts, to the 2011-12 Civil Rights Data Collection, which gathered information from all of the nation's 16,500 districts.

The researchers focused on instances of restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities, because students in that category are subject to those disciplinary methods at considerably higher rates than their typically developing peers. 

For the 2009-10 collection, about 59 percent of districts reported no instances of restraint, and about 82.5 percent of schools reported no instances of seclusion. In 2011-12,  69 percent reported no instances of restraint, and 87 percent reported no instances of seclusion.

restraint map.JPG

In 2009-10, the researchers found that low-poverty, low-diversity districts used restraint more than twice as often as districts with high rates of poverty and diversity. But for the latest data collection, while more affluent districts still used restraint more often than the poorer districts, the difference between the two was not as pronounced. 

While states vary in their use of restraint and seclusion, there also are dramatic differences in how often restraint and seclusion is used among districts located in the same state. Many states have districts that restrain or seclude frequently, as well as districts that have reported no use of those practices.

"These findings suggest that local policy decisions and other factors related to school culture, rather than state policy, seem to be the greatest determinants of restraint and seclusion rates," the researchers concluded. 

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • sdc teach: I agree with the previous post regarding the high cost read more
  • Jason: That alert is from 2001. Is there anything more recent read more
  • Vikki Mahaffy: I worked as a special education teacher for 18 years read more
  • paulina rickards: As it relates to this research I am in total read more
  • Anonymous: Fully fund the RTI process. We are providing special education read more