Is Restraint/Secluson a Problem in School?

Eight to ten students die each year due to restraints or seclusion in school. This fact was presented by Joe Ryan (Clemson University) and Michael Rozalski (Binghamton University) and backed up by research and evidence at a very informative session at CCBD11 Conference last week. Their session talked about the uses of seclusion, timeout, and restraint in schools including recent federal policies and legal cases pertaining to this issues.

In 2010, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan charged states with establishing  policies regarding restraint and seclusion. Some states have policies, others direct districts or schools to come up with policies, and yet others only provide guidelines. Less then 1/2 the states have policies or guidelines in place (Ryan et al., 2007 & 2009).

7 Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint

These suggestions were offers during the session and are research and evidence-based.

1. Provide staff crisis intervention training (a number of private companies can offer training).

2. Train staff to recognize conflict cycles and intervene appropriately.

3. Reconsider procedures and practices (especially since there is not evidence that restraint or seclusion changes student behavior).

4. Implement a hierarchal approach to behavior management.

5. Instead of seclusion, use timeout in the classroom.

6. Create other rooms.

7. Consider other means to reduce maladaptive behavior.

I personally feel that  these are excellent concrete alternatives that I hope schools implement or embed into their policies. Details from this session can be found at


Do you have any experiences with these practices in your school?

What are your concerns as an educator or parent? Leave your comments.