The use of restraint and seclusion in our nation’s schools has been debated for decades; these procedures continue to be used today despite reports of psychological and physical harm, including the deaths of students; and they are disproportionately used with disabled children and Black, brown, and indigenous children. Use of these procedures causes psychological harm to observers and physical and psychological harm to the individuals doing the secluding or restraining, including death. Restraint means restricting the student’s ability to move his or her torso, arms, legs, or head freely, and seclusion is confining a student alone in a room or area that he or she is not permitted to leave. In a letter submitted for consideration at the 2019 hearing on Classrooms in Crisis: Examining the Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraint Practices, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stated that the harmful use of aversives, restraint, and seclusion in our schools deny students an equal educational opportunity and violate their civil and human rights.
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