DURHAM, N.H. — Students who have a disability are more likely to be restrained and secluded in school than students without a disability, according to a new University of New Hampshire study.
Restraint is a practice that uses physical or mechanical means to restrict a student’s freedom of motion. Seclusion is a practice that usually involves the involuntary isolation of a student for several minutes.
The research, presented by the Carsey Institute, finds on average across school districts nationwide, there were 2.6 instances of restraint for every 100 students with a disability for the 2009-2010 school year, compared with only 0.1 instances for every 100 students without a disability. Seclusion rates followed a similar pattern.
Many school districts report no instances of restraint of a student with a disability. However, a small proportion of districts report exceedingly high rates.
“Schools today are tasked with implementing positive techniques that can effectively manage the difficult and sometimes violent behaviors of the most challenging students with a disability, which might lead some schools to more extreme measures,” the researchers said.