Eye on Education

Indiana, Washington, D.C. Move to Regulate Use of Seclusion Rooms

Indiana State Senate

Indiana state Sen. Randy Head is proposing legislation that would regulate the use of seclusion rooms.

Along with The Columbus Dispatch, we’ve reported on the use of seclusion rooms in Ohio schools.

Seclusion rooms are enclosed spaces that are supposed to be used to calm or restrain children who become violent. There is little evidence that seclusion helps children but plenty of evidence that it hurts them.

Their use is currently unregulated in Ohio, though Ohio is moving slowly towards regulating their use in some schools. Now Indiana and D.C. are too.

Our colleagues at StateImpact Indiana share this report on moves to regulate the use of seclusion and restraint in Indiana:

Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, told members of the autism study committee that last year teachers used duct tape to restrain a student with special needs. He says the medical community and advocacy groups agree that students sometimes need to be secluded or restrained. The practice should only be used as a last resort.

But as we’ve noted before, Indiana doesn’t have a law governing seclusion and restraint.

The Washington Examiner reports that the D.C. public schools will soon have new discipline rules that focus on ensuring students with disabilities aren’t improperly restrained or isolated by their teachers.”

In D.C., changes in policies on the use of seclusion and restraint were proposed a few years ago, but are expected to be implemented in schools this year:

[Office of the State Superintendent of Education] regulations already prohibit seclusion unless there’s a threat to other students’ safety and require that separated students be monitored. The new rules would create an “absolute ban” on several kinds of methods for restraining students and establish seclusion of students as a “temporary intervention … for emergency situations only.”

And last month, the Kentucky state Board of Education voted to sharply limit the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools. The policy approved by the board would also require schools to tell parents when seclusion and restraint are used.


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