Resources

There is a substantial and growing body of evidence for the elimination of restraint and seclusion in schools. Here we’ve collected several helpful resources, broken down into three categories:

For ease of navigation, you may click on a category above to be directed to a set of resources. While there are some resources posted to more than one category, each section contains unique and important information, so we encourage you to browse all categories on this page.

Background and General Information

Preventing the Use of Restraint and Seclusion in Schools: Addressing a National Epidemic through the Keeping All Students Safe Act

This overview of initiatives and public policy concerns includes a history of legislative attempts to establish federal restrictions on the use of restraint and seclusion in schools, and a statement of the need for legislative action. (3 pages) Source: The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion

Frequently Asked Questions: Parents Rights

Know your rights when it comes to the use of restraint and seclusion with your child.  Be prepared to discuss the facts and respond with accurate information. (2 pages) Source: The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion

Frequently Asked Questions: Steps to Prevent Abuse

Educators and others may feel like eliminating the use of restraint and seclusion is important, but they might be unclear how to start that process.  This document examines steps to reduce aversive strategies, training to pursue to expand their skills base, and documenting incidents so that everyone is well informed. (2 pages) Source: The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion

Frequently Asked Questions: Understanding Aversives, Restraint and Seclusion

What do we mean when we talk about AVERSIVES, RESTRAINT, and SECLUSION?  This APRAIS document offers 8 questions and answers that define our terms for the Stop Hurting Kids Campaign. (3 pages) Source: The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion

Debunking the Myths about Restraint and Seclusion in Schools

There can be a great deal of misinformation surrounding the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. This document addresses those myths with straight forward answers and additional resources. (6 pages) Source: The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion

Youth Position Statement on Restraint and Seclusion

Educators and advocates aren’t the only voices in the conversation about the use of restraint and seclusion; young people should be heard loud and clear as well.  This powerful document, from 2009, brings first person voices from young people gathered in Massachusetts for a forum to establish reasons, practices and values to prevent the use of restraint and seclusion. (1 page) Source: Statewide Youth Expert Witnesses

Rethinking the Toolbox: What the Data Show about the Disproportionate use of Restraint and Seclusion with Children of Color

Read a brief fact sheet that defines the problem, summarizes the data easy-to-read graphs and clearly outlines the disparities among children of color and restraint and seclusion use. This document provides a high-impact introduction to an often over-looked topic. (2 pages) Source: TASH

United States Government Accountability Office Report on Seclusions and Restraints

This landmark 2009 investigation by the Government Accountability Office found no federal laws restricting the use of restraint and seclusion in public and private schools, and widely divergent laws at the state level. The report documents numerous instances of abuse, including those in which the student was killed as a result of restraint and seclusion practices. (60 pages) Source: Government Accountability Office

In the Name of Treatment

This publication defines the terms of the restraint and seclusion discussion, outlines their significant dangers and the protections and rights that exist, and explains the role of Positive Behavior Supports and of responsible public policy.  This document provides a basic orientation to diverse aspects of the issue in simple, jargon-free language. (22 pages) Source: The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion

School is Not Supposed to Hurt

The National Disability Rights Network issued its 2009 report revealing students across the U.S. were being injured, traumatized and killed through the use of restraint and seclusion practices in schools. The report calls for constructive, positive solutions for the prevention of challenging behavior, including the use of Positive Behavior Supports and conflict de-escalation procedures. This report also debunks several myths surrounding the use of restraint and seclusion. Here is the 2010 follow-up to the original report, and another NDRN report issued in 2012. (77 pages) Source: National Disability Rights Network

The Cost of Waiting

In the two years following the introduction of restraint and seclusion legislation in the House of Representatives, TASH issued The Cost of Waiting to illustrate the true cost of inaction. This report provides background on legislative initiatives, and highlights numerous instances of abuse as seen through the lens of media reports. (17 pages) Source: TASH

Selected Cases of Death and Abuse at Public and Private Schools and Treatment Centers

View selected cases from the Government Accountability Office’s investigation into restraint and seclusion in public schools and treatment centers, delivered testimony before the Committee on Education and Labor in the House of Representatives. This document provides a quick glance at the severity of these practices across all states. (1 page) Source: Government Accountability Office

Shouldn’t School Be Safe?

This is a parent’s guide to prevention, detection and response to restraint and seclusion and other aversive interventions. It was developed to assist parents who may be discouraged or overwhelmed by the state laws regulating restraint and seclusion. A “no restraint letter” can be found at the end of this document. (23 pages) Source: TASH

Exercising Restraint

Bill Lichtenstein, former investigative producer for ABC News 20/20, World News Tonight and Nightline, founder of  LCMedia, and father who’s child was subjected to restraint and seclusion, shares his perspective on the use of these damaging practices in schools.  This article answers questions ranging from “what is restraint and seclusion in schools?” to “what about the parents who speak up?” (4 pages) Source:  Bill Lichtenstein, LCMedia

The Road to Recovery: Supporting Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Who Have Experienced Trauma

This training provides an overview for providers on how to work with children and families who are living with intellectual and development disabilities who have experienced trauma. It consists of a Facilitator Guide and a Participant Manual that together are designed to teach basic knowledge, skills, and values about working with children with IDD who have had traumatic experiences, and how to use this knowledge to support children’s safety, well-being, happiness, and recovery through trauma-informed practice. Source: The National Child Trauma Stress Network

Media Stories 2009-2014

This view-only google document lists media stories written about restraint and seclusion use in our nation’s schools between year 2009 and 2014.  If you would like to add a story to the list, please email the link to the article to Bethany Alvare with TASH or Annie Acosta with The Arc.

Best Practices and Strategies

Use of Restraints, Seclusion and Aversive Procedures on Students with Disabilities

This peer-reviewed 2010 article highlights survey findings that show, among other things, despite recommendations for Positive Behavior Supports many students with disabilities remain subjected to aversive treatments that are counterproductive to the improvement of challenging behavior and their overall well-being. The article provides clear evidence of the pervasive use of restraint and seclusion on school children, and makes the case that current policies and practices are inadequate for prevention. (12 pages) Source: Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities

Parent ABC’s: Preventing Restraint and Seclusion in the Classroom

This 2016 document, developed by TASH’s Human Rights Committee, helps parents plan ahead in order to keep their children safe from the use of dangerous restraint and seclusion in the classroom. It also includes information on where to find a “no restraint letter.” (2 pages) Source: TASH

Toward a Technology of Nonaversive Behavioral Support

A classic peer-reviewed paper (1990) by leaders in the field of Positive Behavior Supports, on research and defining practices that conclude, “The routine use of procedures that deliver pain (shock, pinching, slaps), procedures that result in harm (bruises, cuts, broken bones), and procedures that are disrespectful or dehumanizing (facial sprays, shaving cream in mouth, foul smells) are no longer acceptable.” (8 pages) Source: Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities

Making the Business Case: Promoting Alternatives to Restraint and Seclusion

This report examines the economics of restraint and seclusion use, concluding that they are violent, expensive and largely preventable; their prevention requires leadership commitment, resource allocation, and new tools and can result in substantial savings. It contains a lengthy bibliography for additional resources. (30 pages) Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Promoting a Restraint-Free Environment: Strengthening the Hands-Off Approach through Training

This resource outlines a restraint-free approach to youth in the juvenile justice system, including recognition of the impact of child trauma, the importance of stress management, clear communication and reporting, leadership and ethical issues to which staff must respond. It’s an example of how a state system can respond effectively to end the use of physical force on at-risk youth. (12 pages) Source: Florida Department of Juvenile Justice 

Views on the Efficacy and Ethics of Punishment: Results from a National Survey

A 2008 study asked professional members of a behavior analysis organization about punishment. It found general agreement about the existence of negative side-effects and the lack of empirical research on punishment. This study serves to refute arguments that scientific researchers have found punishment to be ethical and effective. (7 pages) Source: International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy

A Snapshot of Six Core Strategies for the Reduction of Seclusion and Restraint

This document provides clear and basic descriptions of strategies that have successfully reduced the use of restraint and seclusion for children and adults in a variety of mental health settings, where their use was once considered inevitable. It provides common sense and proven strategies that could be adopted and imported easily into school settings. (3 pages) Source: National Technical Assistance Center for State Mental Health Planning

Sending a “No Restraint” Request (Sample Letter)

This website provides visitors with a sample letter to write to the Director of Special Education in your school or district. Source: The Wrightslaw Way to Special Education Law and Advocacy

Legislative and Policy Information

US Department of Education Resource Document on Restraint and Seclusion

The Department of Education developed 15 principles in 2012 for states, school districts, schools, parents and other stakeholders when developing or revising policies on restraint and seclusion. This document makes it clear that restraint or seclusion should never be used except in situations where a child’s behavior poses imminent danger of serious physical harm. The intention of this resource guide is to ensure that schools are safe for children and adults. (45 pages) Source: US Department of Education

The Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Public Schools: The Legal Issues

A report to Congress concluded there are no specific federal laws concerning the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools, although the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires a free, appropriate education for children with disabilities. Many argue that restraint and seclusion violate this requirement in IDEA. Additionally, certain practices may violate constitutional rights or state laws. This document is an easy-to-read legal overview, which may be useful for education attorneys and advocates, with implications for state and federal lawmakers. (8 pages) Source: Congressional Research Service

Preventing the Use of Restraint and Seclusion in Schools: Addressing a National Epidemic through the Keeping All Students Safe Act

This overview of initiatives and public policy concerns includes a history of legislative attempts to establish federal restrictions on the use of restraint and seclusion in schools, and a statement of the need for legislative action. (3 pages) Source: The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion

Making the Business Case: Promoting Alternatives to Restraint and Seclusion

This report examines the economics of restraint and seclusion use, concluding that they are violent, expensive and largely preventable; their prevention requires leadership commitment, resource allocation, and new tools and can result in substantial savings. It contains a lengthy bibliography for additional resources. (30 pages) Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Model State Legislation

A comprehensive draft of suggested language for state-level legislation that prevents restraint and seclusion, and responds to current best practices and positive approaches in the disability field. Supports local stakeholders to craft effective legislation and avoid known “loopholes” that can undermine successful implementation . (15 pages) Source: The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion

United States Government Accountability Office Report on Seclusions and Restraints

This landmark 2009 investigation by the Government Accountability Office found no federal laws restricting the use of restraint and seclusion in public and private schools, and widely divergent laws at the state level. The report documents numerous instances of abuse, including those in which the student was killed as a result of restraint and seclusion practices. (60 pages) Source: Government Accountability Office

How Safe is the Schoolhouse? An Analysis of State Seclusion and Restraint Laws and Policies

This report – updated in March 2015 – discusses the patchwork of state laws and policies that regulate the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. It also examines the impact of Congressional efforts on the states, particularly those states that have enacted or strengthened laws since federal legislation was first introduced in 2009. Finally, it explores particular state requirements that provide important protections. (121 pages) Source: Autism National Committee 

School is Not Supposed to Hurt

The National Disability Rights Network issued its 2009 report revealing students across the U.S. were being injured, traumatized and killed through the use of restraint and seclusion practices in schools. The report calls for constructive, positive solutions for the prevention of challenging behavior, including the use of Positive Behavior Supports and conflict de-escalation procedures. This report also debunks several myths surrounding the use of restraint and seclusion. Here is the 2010 follow-up to the original report, and another NDRN report issued in 2012. (77 pages) Source: National Disability Rights Network

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