Experienced restraint or seclusion?

While they can be difficult to share, our stories are critical for influencing change. Our stories help others to realize that they are not alone and that they too can influence change.

About Restraint and Seclusion

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]

Seclusion Changed Me Forever

365 days ago, I laid awake most of the night worried about the reverberations of the day ahead. I pulled myself out of bed and awakened my 13 year old son Quentin who was peacefully sleeping between my husband and I. I turned on our local NPR station, WAMU. As I went about the mundanities of my morning, I listened for my own voice in the reporting. I felt terror of the exposure and what others would think of me once my son’s story was told. I didn’t realize at the time that experience would begin a journey of both awareness about my son’s autism, and also a level of self-awareness I’d never had.

Making Positive Change Through Negative Experiences

The Story of Sam Maloney Today’s guest author is Debra Pierce Bellare.  Debra has a background in education with a focus on alternative learning. Over the last ten years, she has been advocating to stop the harmful practice of restraint and seclusion used in the public and private school systems in New York State. Her son Sam, … Continue reading Making Positive Change Through Negative Experiences

An open letter to Senator Amy Sinclair

What follows is an open letter we sent to Iowa State Senator Amy Sinclair regarding her proposed legislation Senate Study Bill 3080. The bill encourages the segregation of behaviorally challenging children with special needs. The bill would make it easier for teachers to use restraint and seclusion and grants immunity to school staff that injure children. We also sent a copy of this letter to Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst.

Introducing Alexa Zagorites

Join me in welcoming Alexa Zagorites to the Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint team. Alexa’s daughter Gigi has faced seclusion & restraint within a classroom setting since 2008. Since her daughter was diagnosed with a chromosome disorder when she was two years old it has been my Alexa’s life mission to not only protect Gigi but any other person who’s different by societal standards.

Compassion and positive relationships – not restraint

I am a special education teacher of 15 years and have seen and experienced many challenging behaviors in children with disabilities. For many years, my job was working with severely disabled students. In the past year, I have been working with children with lower support needs. These are academically capable students some of whom might be considered twice-exceptional. Many of my co-workers contend that these children should “know better” when it comes to challenging behavior. I am required to be trained to restrain and write behavior intervention plans.

Sample Letters


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