If your child is experiencing restraints or seclusion at school, then you will want to learn more about several recent statements from the US Department of Education Civil Rights Division. In December 2016, the Office of Civil Rights provided several statements with important guidance for professionals and parents. Those statements included a 24-page ‘Dear Colleague’ letter addressed to professionals, a fact sheet, and a press release. The fact sheet provides the results of several years of research on the detrimental impact on students of restraints and seclusion. The Department of Education documents broadly expand the scope of protections for students who are restrained or secluded in school.


Parents may not realize that children who have special needs have civil rights. Those rights limit schools’ abilities to restrain or seclude children. Those civil rights apply also to some children who have not been identified as having disabilities.   In addition, children who attend therapeutic schools are provided legal protection from unsafe and unjustified restraint and seclusion.


For a detailed discussion of the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights conclusions and of the legal protections, contact Rachael at Rachael.wurtman@gmail.com or at 617-997-6348.