Restraint and seclusion are controversial, drastic techniques used to control a student’s behavior in school. Restraint involves a physical or mechanical limitation on the ability to move. Instances of restraint include holding a student’s hands behind their back, a type of physical restraint, or mechanical restraint using objects like handcuffs or rope. Seclusion happens when a student is forcibly placed in solitary confinement and is not allowed to leave.
Although the U.S. Department of Education clearly states that these methods should only be used if a student’s behavior poses an “imminent danger of serious physical harm to self or others” and never as punishment or as a form of discipline, there are no federal laws to enforce this policy. In fact, schools will frequently restrain or place in seclusion students for breaking minor school rules. Students have been restrained for being uncooperative, getting out their seats, slouching, whistling, and other “misbehavior.”