Impact Policy: Restraint & Seclusion
Restraint & Seclusion in Schools: Improving Wisconsin LawIn 2012, Wisconsin passed Act 125 to regulate the use of restraint and seclusion in our schools. Experiences of schools and families since then have shown where we need to make improvements to the law. In February 2016, Wisconsin Family Ties (WFT), Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) and WI FACETS released a report called Seclusion & Restraint in Wisconsin Public School Districts 2013-2014: Miles to Go that highlighted how often restraint and seclusion are still being used in our schools.
- Restraint and seclusion were used over 20,000 times statewide in 2013/14
- Nearly 80% of the students involved were students with disabilities.
- Require that restraint and seclusion data be reported to DPI as well as school boards (under current law, only school boards receive the data)
- Require schools to convey a written incident report to parents, including the names & titles of covered individuals and law enforcement officers present (current law only requires that parents be notified that the report exists, and does not require law enforcement officer’s names to be included)
- Remove the requirement that IEP teams decide whether restraint/seclusion is likely to be used a second time
- Require that the principal meet with the staff who participated in the incident to discuss the sequence of events and strategies to prevent future incidents
- Explicitly prohibit prone restraint
- Clarify that incidents involving law enforcement officers must be reported in a district’s data, even though law enforcement officers are not defined as “covered individuals” in the restraint/seclusion statute
- Specify that the restraint and seclusion law applies also to students who are district-placed into private schools
- Clarify the definition of “incident” for data reporting purposes
- Update the training requirements for an increased focus on de-escalation, and remove the requirement (but not prohibit) the teaching of “hands-on” techniques.
How Seclusion Feels “I feel like I’m handcuffed to a brick wall.” (Artist: Chance)
Reports on Restraint & Seclusion in Wisconsin:
Seclusion & Restraint in Wisconsin Public School Districts 2013-2014: Miles to Go (February 2016)
Out of Darkness…Into the Light: New Approaches to Reducing the Use of Seclusion and Restraint with Wisconsin Children (Spring 2009)