Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Public Schools: The Legal Issues [October 14, 2010] [open pdf - 178KB]
"Seclusion and restraint have been used in various situations to deal with violent or noncompliant behavior. Because of congressional interest in the use of seclusion and restraint in schools, including passage of H.R. 4247 and the introduction of S. 2860, 111th Congress, first session, this report focuses on the legal issues concerning the use of these techniques in schools, including their application both to children covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and to those not covered by IDEA. Several reports have documented instances of deaths and injuries resulting from the use of seclusion or restraints in schools but, until the Department of Education (ED) issued reporting requirements in March 2010, there was no general reporting requirement. On May 19, 2009, in conjunction with a hearing by the House Education and Labor Committee, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a study examining the use of seclusion and restraint in the education setting, finding hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and death due to the use of seclusion and restraint. On July 31, 2009, the Secretary of Education sent letters to Chief State School Officers noting the problems identified by the GAO report and in the May 19 congressional hearing, encouraging each state to review its current policies, and stating that the Chief State School Officers would be contacted by ED by August 15, 2009, to discuss relevant state laws, regulations, policies, and guidance. The results of these discussions are posted on ED's website."
CRS Report for Congress, R40522