The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS) is dedicated to ensuring that students with disabilities have equal access to charter schools and that charter schools are designed and operated to enable all students to succeed. Today, we commend the announcement of the U.S. Department of Education’s initiative to address the inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion to protect children with disabilities and ensure compliance with federal laws.
Restraint and seclusion are dangerous practices that cause students trauma and have resulted in injury, and even death. School personnel can also be injured when imposing restraint and seclusion. Though the use of restraint and seclusion is widespread, national data indicates that students with disabilities are roughly 20 times more likely than their peers without disabilities to be restrained and/or secluded. All of our nation’s students deserve better. NCSECS, through the Equity Coalition, has developed a Statement on Discipline for charter schools to embrace as they seek to provide inclusive, safe, and positive learning environments for all students, consistent with the purposes of this initiative.
We appreciate that the Department will also support schools seeking resources and information on the appropriate use of interventions and supports to address behavioral needs of complex learners and that it will provide technical assistance to schools on data quality to ensure that they are collecting and reporting accurate data relating to the use of restraint and seclusion. In order to keep all students safe in schools, schools must receive the appropriate resources and support and also be held accountable for upholding federal laws.
We applaud the Department for its leadership and look forward to updates on the progress of the initiative.