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Abusive/Deadly Disciplinary Practices Prompt White House ReactionThe White House announced the release of a "Resource Document" Tuesday by the Department of Education on restraint and seclusion disciplinary practices in educational and adult care environments.
In recent years there has been an increase in reports of abuse and death as a result of the use of such practices on persons with disabilities and troubled teens. Reports have included children being chained in boxes, sat on, locked in closets, and more in efforts to discipline them.
Parents and advocacy groups have asked the US Government to step-in to enact regulations on the matter. In May 2009, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) testified before the Education and Labor Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives regarding similar practices in programs for troubled teens. In July 2009 the Secretary of Education sent a letter to School Officers encouraging each state to review and revise, if necesary their policies and guidelines regarding the use of restraint and seclusion techniques.
In keeping with The Presidents mission for all children to "receive a world-class education...in a safe environment," this document was released. The document makes it clear that "physical restraint or seclusion should not be used except in situations where the child's behavior poses 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. It stresses that "there is no evidence that using restraint or seclusion is effective in reducing the occurrence of the problem behaviors that frequently precipitate the use of such techniques." It also outlines 15 principles that should be used as a framework for the development and implementation of "policies and procedures, which should be in writing related to restraint and seclusion to ensure that any use of restraint or seclusion in schools does not occur."
Restraint and Seclusion: Resource Document