School is not supposed to hurt. The National Disability Rights Network [NDRN] investigative report on abusive restraint and seclusion in schools was released January 13, 2009. In a July 2009 letter to school superintendents, Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education, stated that the use of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports [PBIS], together with state rules strictly limiting the use of restraint and seclusion, can drastically reduce the number of times children are restrained at schools. The PBIS system looks at the reason the student is engaging in particular behaviors and then focuses on positive ways for the student to get those needs met, before the situation becomes unsafe.

At the urging of Disability Rights Oregon [DRO], the State of Oregon enacted rules limiting the use of restraint and seclusion to situations in which the student’s behavior poses a threat of imminent, serious physical harm to the student or others. School districts are also directed to establish written policies and procedures to include provisions for staff training, debriefing, and notification of the parent or guardian on the same day as an incident of restraint or seclusion occurs.

While many school districts may be trying diligently to follow these rules, and to provide PBIS, DRO is concerned that some are not.

Here’s how you can help!

  • Request a copy of your district’s policy
  • Tell us your thoughts! Call 503.243.2081 or 1.800.452.1694
  • Tell us your stories. Call 503.243.2081 or 1.800.452.1694

For more information, see Disability Rights Oregon’s publication, Restraint & Seclusion of Children in Special Education.