The harmful use of restraint and seclusion is a pervasive problem in our nation’s schools. NDSS is a member of the Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion (APRAIS), a national coalition advocating for federal legislation to protect children from these dangerous techniques, a cultural shift toward preventive and positive intervention strategies and training for teachers on positive interventions. The growing media coverage of physical and emotional harm resulting from improper restraint and seclusion is drawing attention to the need for federal legislation to prevent these measures, and spurred a study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which found hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and death from restraint and seclusion in school. The majority of students in the GAO study had disabilities.
Two bills related to seclusion and restraint have been introduced at the federal level in the 114th Congress:
- In February 2015, Representative Donald Beyer Jr. (D-VA) reintroduced the Keeping All Students Safe in Schools Act (HR 927). This legislation will prohibit elementary and secondary school personnel from managing any student by using any mechanical or chemical restraint, physical restraint or escort that restricts breathing, or aversive behavioral intervention that compromises student health and safety.
- In May 2015, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) introduced the Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act of 2015 (HR 2268). This bill will prohibit the US Department of Education from providing education funding to any educational agency or institution that allows school personnel to inflict corporal punishment upon a student. It also will authorize grants to states to assist them in improving school climate and culture by implementing school-wide positive behavior supports.
NDSS strongly supports both of these bills.
In addtion to federal efforts, many states have passed laws to provide children with protections against restraint and seclusion. See resources below for more information.