Department of Education Finds School Restraint and Seclusion Discriminatory

Author: Disability Rights California
Published: 2016/08/05 - Updated: 2021/05/13
Contents: Summary - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights finds Oakland Unified School District discriminated against student by subjecting him to inappropriate and excessive restraint and seclusion. We are deeply troubled that any school district uses dangerous restraint practices and we look forward to ensuring these practices are eliminated in all California schools. Under a settlement agreement with OCR, OUSD agreed to no longer contract with schools that use prone restraint; to develop a protocol to monitor the use of these practices; and to hire an expert to teach staff.

Introduction

The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) found that the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) discriminated against a student by subjecting him to inappropriate and excessive restraint and seclusion.

Main Digest

Restraint and seclusion are emergency interventions allowed only to prevent a child from imminent serious physical harm.

Read the OCR complaint letter and the Resolution Agreement:

The decision stems from a complaint filed by Disability Rights California on behalf of a boy with autism.

OUSD placed the then nine-year-old student at Anova Center for Education, a non-public school for children with autism in Concord. He was restrained 92 times over 11 months to control his behavior. The practice included two to three adults holding him face down for up to an hour-and-a-half at a time.

OCR's investigation found that OUSD did not follow the student's Individualized Education Plan, conduct behavioral assessments or take any meaningful steps to address the excessive use of prone (face down) restraint.

Under a settlement agreement with OCR, OUSD agreed to no longer contract with schools that use prone restraint; to develop a protocol to monitor the use of these practices; and to hire an expert to teach staff positive behavior interventions and train on the effects of restraint and seclusion.

"We are deeply troubled that any school district uses dangerous restraint practices and we look forward to ensuring these practices are eliminated in all California schools," said DRC attorney Suge Lee.

"I am thrilled with OCR's decision," said Bonnie Candell, mother of Stuart, who is now 12-years-old. "I saw how being restrained negatively affected my son, causing him to cry and have suicidal thoughts. I am happy that other Oakland kids will not have to go through what my son did."

Disability Rights California (DRC) is a non-profit organization created by the governor in 1978. DRC is the agency designated under U.S. federal law to protect and advocate for the rights of Californians with disabilities. The mission of DRC is to advance the rights, dignity, equal opportunities, and choices for all people with disabilities.

Attribution/Source(s):

This quality-reviewed publication titled Department of Education Finds School Restraint and Seclusion Discriminatory was chosen for publishing by Disabled World's editors due to its relevance to the disability community. While the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or brevity, it was originally authored by Disability Rights California and published 2016/08/05 (Edit Update: 2021/05/13). For further details or clarifications, you can contact Disability Rights California directly at disabilityrightsca.org Disabled World does not provide any warranties or endorsements related to this article.

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