By Jenny Abamu, NPR, June 15, 2019.
When students pose a threat to themselves or others, educators sometimes need to restrain them or remove them to a separate space. That's supposed to be a last resort, and it's a controversial practice. As we've reported recently, school districts don't always follow state laws or federal reporting requirements.
Though there are guidelines around restraint and seclusion in schools, there are no federal laws governing how they can be used. And they're most often used on students with disabilities or special needs, and boys, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Jennifer Tidd's son falls into both those categories. He has autism and behavioral issues, and over three years — from 2013 to 2016 — he was restrained or secluded more than 400 times by his Fairfax County, Va., school, according to an investigation by member station WAMU. Tidd says the repeated seclusions traumatized her son, causing him to hate school and making him more violent and distrusting of authority figures.