Justice Department Settles With Maryland County Over Use of Restraint and Seclusion in Schools

The Department of Justice has reached a settlement with a Maryland school district over its unnecessary and repeated use of seclusion and restraint tactics in schools – almost entirely on students with disabilities, some as young as 5 years old.

The settlement reflects a recent but growing priority of the federal government, which is responding to research showing that such controversial methods in classrooms are frequently employed but rarely reported – despite the fact that school districts are required to notify the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights of the incidents. Civil rights groups and special education advocates have long cried foul on the use of restraint and seclusion, which has been demonstrated to be both physically and psychologically damaging.

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