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Inappropriate Use of Restraint & Seclusion in Schools

U.S. Department of Education Finds Inappropriate Use of Restraint and Seclusion of Students with Disabilities at Virginia Schools

Following a comprehensive investigation at two public special education schools, the U.S. Department of Education has found that the repeated use of physical restraint and seclusion to manage student behavior is ineffective and inappropriate. The Department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) determined that the PACE East and PACE West schools in Prince William County, Va., routinely denied students their right to an appropriate education when they were consistently removed from classrooms and placed in a separate room

The findings were issued in response to a November 2012 complaint filed on behalf of the mother of a PACE East student with emotional disabilities who was placed in a seclusion room for hours at a time on multiple occasions and subjected to floor-facing extreme restraint on six occasions. This included four instances where police were involved, even though his behavior did not indicate any danger to himself or others. The systemic complaint centered on the schools’ pervasive overuse of seclusion and restraint as a default behavioral intervention that discriminated against students with emotional disabilities.

Press Release (PDF)

Complaint (PDF)

OCR Letter of Findings (PDF)

News Coverage

Prince William Schools Restrain, Seclude Disabled Kids Frequently, Inquiry Finds
(Washington Post, 8/6/14)

OCR Finds Misuse of Seclusion, Restraint (Politico Morning Education, 8/7/14)

Feds: Prince William School Staff Too Frequently Restrained Disabled Students
(Inside NoVa, 8/7/14)

Prince William Schools Restrain, Seclude Disabled Kids Frequently, Inquiry Finds
(The Wrightslaw Way, 8/7/14)

2 Virginia Schools Blamed for Restraining Students (The Daily Progress, 8/7/14)

Two Virginia Schools Blamed for Restraining Students (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/7/14)

Investigation into Virginia Public Schools’ Use of Seclusion and Physical Restraint
(WVTF Public Radio, 8/8/14)

Federal Investigators Crack Down on Two Virginia Schools’ Use of Restraints (ProPublica, 8/11/14)

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