A twenty-first century approach to supporting all students

We can better support all children while eliminating restraint, seclusion, and other harsh disciplinary practices. Read this new research article to learn more.

Seclusion and restraint

Restraint and seclusion are crisis management strategies that are used in many schools across the nation and the world. Physical Restraint, is exactly what it sounds like, it is a personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move his or her torso, arms, legs or head freely. Seclusion is the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving. These interventions are dangerous and have led to serious injuries and even death in students, teachers and staff.

According to federal guidance restraint and/or seclusion should never be used except in situations where a child’s behavior poses an imminent danger of serious physical harm to self or others, and restraint and seclusion should be avoided to the greatest extent possible without endangering the safety of students and staff. The important wording here is “serious physical harm”, these measures are not intended merely for unsafe situations, but rather to situations that could result in death or serious bodily injury. As such based on federal guidance restraint and seclusion should be exceedingly rare. However, it has been found that restraint and seclusion are occurring far more frequently in schools across the nation and are not always limited to situations that involve imminent serious physical harm. [Read More]


Testimony in Support of Illinois SB2296

Good afternoon. My name is Guy Stephens. I am the executive director of the Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint, a community of over 12,000 parents, teachers, school administrators, and others who are working together to influence change to better support children while eliminating restraint and seclusion practices. I know firsthand how the use of restraint and seclusion affects children and their families. I ask you today to support SB2296.   

Survivor Story: Into the woods

I was uneasy as my family drove me deeper and deeper into the woods. A lady took me and my father into a room where he signed custody of his little girl over to these people we had never met before. For the next 11 months, he paid them $12,000 every month to tear down my entire soul and tape up a flimsy image of a perfectly submissive teen to cover the void that was left inside me.

Bad Behavior or Nervous System Response

Our nervous systems and physiological states create and produce the behaviors we observe, question, discuss, punish, suspend, seclude, and attend to in all moments throughout the day! As educators who sit with 30 to 180 plus nervous systems every day, we have traditionally paid attention to observable behaviors, assessing them as appropriate, disrespectful, inappropriate, oppositional, aggressive, manipulative, and a variety of other labels and classifications.

Lives in the balance

Lives in the Balance introduced Maile as its new Director of Advocacy in September, 2020. Maile has more than 20 years of experience in supporting young people with emotional, social, and behavioral challenges in a variety of school settings, including residential homes, therapeutic day schools, public schools, and private independent day schools. In addition to her license in clinical social work, she is a certified provider and trainer in the Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) model and conducts a private practice. Maile is overseeing Lives in the Balance’s efforts to eliminate the use of detention, suspension, expulsion, paddling, restraint, and seclusion in schools and therapeutic facilities, and addressing the disproportional use of these practices in Black and Brown youth.

I Watched “Music.”

Even after Sia promised to place a warning on her film debut, “Music,” and remove restraint scenes, my intention was not to view the film. This is not me speaking for autistic people; this is me, a neurodivergent and mother of two autistic sons, one of whom is nonspeaking and high support needs, who believes nothing should be written about autistic people without autistic people being part of it. It’s abundantly clear from the first scene, no autistic people worked on this film. But we knew that.


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