‘I’m Not Safe Here’: Schools Ignore Federal Rules on Restraint and Seclusion

A mother in North Carolina filed a complaint with the federal government in March 2022 after her second-grade son, who has autism and other conditions, repeatedly punched himself in the face in a seclusion room at Buckhorn Creek Elementary. Documents show that restraint and seclusion were part of her son’s special education plan, and the district reported that they had zero incidents of restraint or seclusion for nearly a decade, even though the child was repeatedly restrained or confined to a seclusion room. This is one of many cases of restraint and seclusion, which is disproportionately used on students with disabilities and children of color. Despite complaints and awareness from advocates, including the federal government issuing new guidance, the practice continues with little accountability.

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