In December 2016, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the US Department of Education released a significant policy statement on the subject of restraint and seclusion at school. The OCR is the division of the Department of Education that protects the civil rights of students. Students who have disabilities and who attend schools that receive public funding are protected from discrimination according to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Parents may not realize that children with special needs who attend public schools have civil rights. Those rights have implications for the subject of restraint and seclusion by school staff. School districts may not deny students who have special needs their federally mandated right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Schools are prohibited from applying any practice, including restraining students, in a manner that discriminates against students who have special needs.

 To read more, see the blog post on the Friendship Circle website, at

Department of Education Outlines “Best Practices” for Restraint and Seclusion of Students with Special Needs