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One Connecticut Public School Student Was Restrained Over 700 Times in One Year

February 12, 2015 in Blogs

By Annie Waldman, ProPublica

A new state report found that Connecticut schools pin down and restrain a ‘staggering’ number of kids.

Connecticut public schools are far too quick to restrain or isolate unruly children against their will, leaving hundreds with injuries and many others with unmet educational needs, a state report released last week found.

The report cited “significant concern” that schools are overusing restraints and so-called seclusion, particularly on kids with emotional or intellectual disabilities. Over the past three years, Connecticut has recorded more than 90,000 instances of restraint and seclusion in public schools and more than 1,300 injuries – at least two dozen of them serious.

The report found one child was restrained more than 700 times over the course of a year.

 ”The numbers are staggering,” Mickey Kramer, the Associate Child Advocate for Connecticut and one of the authors of the report, told ProPublica. “We realize that this is a pervasive, widespread problem.”

The report, which explored the cases of 70 students, described a 9-year-old student with autism who was placed in seclusion after refusing to say “hello” to a visitor and a 4-year-old boy with a developmental delay who was restrained after throwing puzzle pieces on the floor and across the room. The younger boy's school plan said he could be shackled to an orthopedic chair that is not supposed to be used for restraints.

And one fourth grader with autism was repeatedly secluded behind closed doors despite making repeated suicidal gestures while there, including wrapping items such as a sock, shoelace and coat around his neck and stating “I want to die.” In 2004, a 13-year-old Georgia boy died after hanging himself while in seclusion.

Excessive use of restraint and seclusion goes far beyond Connecticut schools. An investigation last year by ProPublica and NPR based on government data showed the practices were used at least 267,000 times nationwide in just one school year.

The actual number of incidents is almost certainly much higher. Several of the nation's largest school districts do not report the actual number of restraints to authorities despite the count being mandated by …read more


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