In the state of Wisconsin, the 2011 Act 125: Seclusion and Restraint gives public schools the explicit right to seclude or restrain children “when a student’s behavior presents a clear, present and imminent risk to the physical safety of the student or others and it is the least restrictive intervention feasible.”
What is Seclusion and Restraint?
Seclusion means to isolate a child in a room or a space – and make sure they can’t escape. Restraint means to actually restrict a child’s movement, like by an adult holding the child through a mechanism that keeps the child still. Schools are only supposed to use these measures as a last resort, but in many cases, kids who are simply non-compliant with teachers are locked away.
As many as 75 percent of all reported physical restraint cases and 60 percent of seclusions take place among special needs children.
So is seclusion or restraint ethical?
What would you think if it was your child who was secluded or restrained during the school day?
Children have died as a result of these practices. Additionally, parents of kids who have been repeatedly subjected to these harsh measures report lasting psychological trauma – with some even saying that their children have something similar to post-traumatic stress disorder.
One of the worst offenders when it comes to seclusion and restraint has come under fire recently for misreporting. The Fairfax County School system in northern Virginia reported zero cases for years – but internal documents showed that there were nearly 2,000 incidents that occurred.
What Do You Think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on seclusion and restraint. Do you think it’s an acceptable practice, or would you be outraged if it happened to your child? Please join the conversation on my Facebook page or on my Twitter feed to let us know what you think!