Advocates Say a Practice Harms Disabled Children, Yet Congressional Action Is Stalled

A 9-year-old boy with autism in a North Carolina classroom was physically restrained and secluded multiple times. Federal law does not prohibit this, leading to a lack of accountability and oversight. Thousands of children, particularly those with disabilities and students of color, are subjected to these practices, which can be dangerous and traumatizing. Legislation to restrict these practices has been unsuccessful in Congress, with opposition from some Republican lawmakers and school superintendents. The boy’s mother filed a complaint, and after reaching a settlement, her son was restrained and secluded again at a new school. Wake County Public Schools reported no instances of these practices for nearly a decade, raising concerns about underreporting.

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