Democrats seek to lift secrecy surrounding school seclusion and restraint

Jun 7, 2019 by

Democrats seek to lift secrecy surrounding school seclusion and restraint
Democrats say it’s key to mandate that schools let parents know when such incidents have occurred.

Parents say it’s bad enough when they find out a teacher took steps to physically isolate or control a disruptive child who may pose a danger to others— but not getting the news immediately from the school is all the more unsettling.

As Democrats in Congress work to craft a bill that would create a federal standard on what’s known as seclusion and restraint in K-12 schools, a key component is a parental notification requirement. Democrats want to bring the sometimes secretive practices of seclusion and restraint in schools out into the open — and say it’s key to mandate that schools let parents know when such incidents have occurred.

The Education Department defines restraint as restricting a student’s ability to move their torso, arms, legs or head freely, and seclusion as confining a student alone in an area they may not leave, according to the Government Accountability Office, a congressional watchdog. Federal data shows that students with disabilities and black students are disproportionately affected, and some Democrats want seclusion outlawed entirely on the federal level.

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