How Some Schools Restrain Or Seclude Students: A Look At A Controversial Practice []


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.

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Our son witnessed multiple times when his friend was placed (dragged) into the "quite" room. He was placed alone, with the window covered on the outside with construction paper, and an adult sitting on the chair outside to hold the door foot-lock closed. MULTIPLE times - weekly. Nearly 20 years later our son can recall in vivid detail, everything - right down to the color of the chair. The boy being placed in the quite room was giddy, happy, non-verbal kiddo with autism. He would be placed in there for extended periods of time. The trauma that kiddo suffered is literally indescribable. We were fortunate, our kiddo could describe with such clarity, that the legal case to stop these practices from happening to other students at that school - prevailed. 

The graphic image used for this article does not accurately represent what many kiddo experience. They are in a closet sized room without windows - except on the door - (which in this case was covered on the outside with construction paper) alone, crying for help, doing all they can to have someone help them get out. They get progressively more and more scared - and nonverbal. Imagine that.

It is not only the child placed in the room that is traumatized. 
See the attached letter from the Office of Civil Rights(OCR) for updated guidance. HERE is additional information. THIS is for families, if they feel the need for assistance. 


Us trauma informed folks know that when the student soiled himself in an isolation room, it was not an "act of desperation", it was going pretty far into the freeze stress state, the "preparing to die" state.