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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. Our stories can influence members of the media to investigate and write articles that can inspire change. Our stories can connect with lawmakers who can change the law to protect our children and our loved ones. Please share your story and let us know how we can use it to influence change.


Read stories from others

Here are stories from parents, advocates, educators and others related to the use of restraint and seclusion.

Isolated in Vermont: Trauma lasts a lifetime

I want to preface this by explaining that I only write this anonymously because I don’t want colleges or future employers to look my name up and read about my childhood trauma. I attended kindergarten through 4th grade in a Vermont Public School. I am now in High School. Last year a letter was written addressing parents about restraint and seclusion policies in the Harwood Unified Union School District. I was one of those students affected by those policies.

Invisible voices: Victims of corporal punishment in the 20th century Catholic School System 

Anyone who attended Catholic school during the 1950’s, ‘60s, and ’70s will attest to the fact that no one does better punishment, seclusion, restraint, and isolation techniques better than the Catholic orders of nuns who taught in the catholic school systems across the United States and Canada. The nuns imposed corporal punishment for inattention, failure to do homework, and any misbehavior in their classroom was met with a brutality unknown to most of the outside world.

Problematic Behavioral Intervention Strategies: It’s not working for the child (Part 2)

One of the key issues with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is the approach to identifying the function of behavior. PBIS guidance suggests that “staff should minimize reinforcement of the behavior.” Let’s break this down. This belief is rooted in the view that the function of the behavior works for the child. This belief is a horrible and demeaning view when we assume children misbehave intentionally and choose to do so. 

I’m a teacher, and I don’t believe restraints keep children safe

I started my career working in a residential facility. Restraints and seclusions were common, almost daily experiences. So I have a long history with them. I am embarrassed to say that while I was in my 20’s trying to supervise extremely volatile and impacted children, I saw them as “sometimes necessary for safety.” I don’t think that anymore. As an educator, I have worked relentlessly to decrease the use of these traumatic interventions.

Safety First: A quick start guide for parents working to keep their kids safe from restraint, seclusion, suspension, and expulsion

When I held each of my two kids as newborns, I promised to keep each of them as safe as possible. I know that the world isn’t fair and that no parent can (or should) shield their children from all of life’s difficulties, but I thought that since I had a relatively safe childhood, I could keep both my kids safe from abuse and trauma as elementary school students. 

A teacher on a mission to reduce and eliminate restraint and seclusion

I’m a special educator with over ten years of experience working in self-contained alternative classrooms in Arizona and Vermont. When I began my career, I was a teacher who restrained and secluded young children. I was a teacher who couldn’t have done anything differently because I lacked skills. I was new and inexperienced. I didn’t understand the impacts that trauma and adverse experiences have on young children’s perception of the world. Unknowingly, I contributed to the trauma by using restraint and seclusion. Restraint and seclusion never felt right, so I quit using them.

The Impulsive Princess

School is hard. A classmate told my mom I wasn’t a real Princess. My mom said, “How do you know she isn’t a real Princess?” I Iaughed.This Princess is restrained and secluded at school for not listening or not working on boring worksheets or not sitting in my boring chair. Being secluded makes me sad and mad. Mom calls that being smad.

How proper support and a service dog named Koko helped Mason

Back in the day, I would usually start my IEP (Individualized Education Program) meetings with a statement like, “Restraint should be the last resort, or things will go downhill quickly.” Every year it seemed to get worse after the first restraint would happen. It was just the beginning of a long road ahead for my son, who is autistic, and has ADHD, anxiety, and PTSD. When he was in public school, he was restrained and secluded. He stopped doing all academics after being secluded and would elope almost daily. I was constantly on call to come up to school! Mason would tell me who would hold each leg and each arm. I guess I consider myself lucky he could tell me what happened. He has an elephant brain and maintains everything, which is a good and a bad thing.

Unconditional Love, Healing after the crisis

We are parents from the Frederick, MD community and recently read the news about FCPS practices regarding the use of restraint and seclusion. I just started crying, feeling grateful after knowing that thanks to you, people with the emotional strength, knowledge, and support advocated for yours, were listened to, and opened doors of justice for others to begin breaking the apathy barriers needed to improve our education system. No one deserves to be hurt and traumatized by others, no one. Those practices did not just hurt our child when he was in 2nd grade but also his siblings and the whole family. We wrote many letters for months, trying to get the attention of the authorities, but no one replied. It was frustrating, and we had to homeschool our children to protect them from those practices. It was a real nightmare.

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