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If you have any questions regarding the use of restraint and seclusion in Connecticut schools, contact one of our attorneys at (203) 221-3100.

Restraint and Seclusion in School

In Connecticut, the use of restraint and seclusion is strictly prohibited except in emergency situations where there is an immediate risk of harm to oneself or others. Restraint involves using physical force, mechanical devices, or drugs to restrict movement or control behavior.

Seclusion refers to confining a student in a locked room or another enclosed space where they are physically prevented from leaving. Neither restraint nor seclusion should be employed for disciplinary purposes or convenience. Behaviors such as throwing objects, tipping chairs, running around, leaving the classroom, or using profanity do not constitute emergencies and should not be managed through restraint or seclusion.

Despite being a last resort, many school districts fail to comply with state laws, disproportionately affecting children with disabilities. This non-compliance results in reduced educational opportunities, physical harm, and emotional trauma for these children.

Restraint/Seclusion and Special Education

Although the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) does not explicitly address seclusion and restraint, the practice of seclusion denies students with disabilities their right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE), as it excludes them from academic participation.

Moreover, the necessity for restraint and seclusion indicates deficiencies in the special education and related services provided to students, necessitating the development of more effective behavior plans. Since 2018, seclusion is no longer permissible as a behavioral intervention in a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), with IEP teams now required to consider positive behavioral interventions and supports.

The Danger of Restraint and Seclusion

There is no evidence supporting the educational or therapeutic efficacy of restraint or seclusion for students. Conversely, these practices are known to pose significant physical, psychological, and emotional risks. Therefore, schools should replace these methods with positive behavior interventions and supports, as well as programs focusing on social-emotional learning and restorative justice, to safeguard students’ physical, psychological, and emotional well-being.

Your child should not face injury or trauma at school, nor should they fear attending each day. If your child experiences repeated restraint or seclusion at school, it is crucial to promptly meet with their Planning and Placement Team (PPT). Additionally, if the school unlawfully restrains or secludes your child, fails to notify you within 24 hours of an incident, or neglects to provide an incident report within two days, consulting a special education lawyer can help you explore legal options and advocate for your child’s best interests.

Maya Murphy P.C. has proudly been included in the 2024 Edition of Best Law Firms®, ranked among the top firms in the nation. In addition, Managing Partner Joseph C. Maya has been selected to The Best Lawyers in America® 2024 for his work in Employment Law and Education Law in Connecticut. Recognition in Best Lawyers® is awarded to firms and attorneys who demonstrate excellence in the industry and is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor.

Our firm in Westport, Connecticut serves clients with legal assistance all over the state, including the towns of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Bethel, Branford, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Cheshire, Danbury, Darien, Derby, East Haven, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Monroe, Naugatuck, New Canaan, New Fairfield, New Haven, Newton, North Branford, North Haven, Norwalk, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Redding, Ridgefield, Seymour, Shelton, Sherman, Southbury, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Weston, Westport, Wilton, and Woodbridge. In addition to assisting clients in Connecticut, our firm handles education law matters in New York as well.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to an attorney about a legal matter, please contact Joseph C. Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com to schedule a free initial consultation today.