New Federal Policy on Restraint and Seclusion in Schools
On January 17, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a new department initiative to address the problem of restraint and seclusion of school children with disabilities. See U.S. Department of Education Announces Initiative to Address the Inappropriate Use of Restraint and Seclusion to Protect Children with Disabilities, Ensure Compliance with Federal Laws (Department of Education press release, 1/17/19). The Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in partnership with the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), will oversee the initiative, which will include compliance reviews; civil rights data collection; and technical assistance for schools and education agencies on the legal requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act relating to the use of restraint and seclusion on children with disabilities. See DeVos to Examine the Use of Restraint and Seclusion on Students with Disabilities: Civil rights activists and the Trump administration's Education Department find themselves in the rare position of being on the same side of an issue. (US News, 1/17/19); Initiative Tightens Scrutiny on Restraint, Seclusion in Spec. Ed. (Education Week, 1/23/19).