Can the Use of Restraint Deny Section 504 FAPE?

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In This Issue ...

ISSN: 1538-320
February 21, 2017

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Restraint means restricting a student’s ability to move his torso, arms, legs or head freely. Seclusion is confining a student alone in a room or area that he or she is not permitted to leave.

OCR’s Data Collection indicates that schools restrain and seclude students with disabilities at higher rates than students without disabilities.

What can you do to protect your child?

New OCR Guidance discourages the use of restraint or seclusion, explains discrimination laws, and clarifies how the use of restraint and seclusion can violate these Federal laws.

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate you will learn that IDEA and Section 504 provide safeguards for children when schools use restraint as discipline. If a child's "behavior" gets in the way of his or her education (or that of others), certain steps must be taken to ensure FAPE.

We hope you will forward this issue to other friends, families, or colleagues.
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New! OCR Guidance on Legal Limitations on Restraint

Federal civil rights laws impose limits on the use of restraint and seclusion by public schools.

New! OCR Guidance informs school districts how the use of restraint and seclusion may result in discrimination against students with disabilities, and violate Section 504 and the ADA.


OCR Guidance Fact Sheet - Denial of FAPE

The use of restraint or seclusion may have a traumatic impact on a student resulting in new academic and behavioral difficulties, impaired concentration or attention in class, or increased absences that could constitute a denial of FAPE.

In some cases, the repeated use of seclusion in school could deny a student’s receipt of FAPE.



How Safe is the School House?

This 2017 updated report examines state restraint and seclusion laws and policies. Get an analysis of the similarities, differences, changes, and newly adopted state laws.

Find this report, and more information and resources on the Abuse, Restraints and Seclusion in School page.


What Can You Do to Protect Your Child? Sample "No Restraint" Letter

Parents should take steps to protect their children from officially-sanctioned child abuse at school.

Put it in writing! You can refuse consent for the school to use aversive procedures on your child. Save a copy of your "no restraint" letter for your files.

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