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CT: More than 2,000 SPED students restrained/secluded 23,511 times in '20-'21

More than 2,000 Connecticut special education students were restrained or secluded a total of 23,511 times in 2020-21, new state data shows, even as many school districts employed remote or hybrid instruction for much of the year.

Use of the controversial techniques led to 134 injuries, including six that met the criteria for “serious” injury, the data showed.

Advocates continue to urge schools to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion, which they describe as dangerous and even traumatic for students and staff….

State data show over 500 students were restrained more than 10 times during the school year, while 80 students were restrained or secluded more than 50 times. Though most incidents lasted 20 minutes or fewer, several hundred stretched past 40 minutes or even an hour….

Last year, a Hearst Newspapers investigation revealed that students nationwide are restrained or secluded hundreds of thousands of times each year, resulting in thousands of injuries and, on rare occasions, death.

In Connecticut, schools reported restraining and secluding special education students tens of thousands of time annually over the past decade, with the techniques disproportionately used on Black students and those with autism….

Though use of the interventions was down in Connecticut in 2020-21 due to the prevalence of remote and hybrid schooling, the state reported 10,386 instances of emergency restraint, 7,901 instances of seclusion and 4,774 instances of forcible escort (categorized as a separate type of restraint) over the course of 2020-21….

Students with autism were also disproportionately likely to be restrained or secluded, accounting for 41.5 percent of emergency restraints, 37.7 percent of seclusion incidents and 30.7 percent of forcible escorts….

In a statement Wednesday, a spokesperson said the agency “remains committed to supporting student and educator safety as an essential foundation for learning and we continue to do so within the confines of our statutory authority.”…

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