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Iowa: Seclusion rooms used for "violent outbursts"; most are "students with disabilities"

Mar 5, 2019, Des Moines Register: An effort to reduce the use of seclusion rooms in Iowa schools raises questions among educators The controversial practice of using seclusion rooms in Iowa schools could soon undergo changes under new proposed state rules, though the scope of the changes is still under review. Many Iowa school districts, including Des Moines Public Schools, use seclusion rooms — often padded, 6-foot by 6-foot wooden boxes — to restrain children, typically following violent outbursts. The practice is legal in Iowa, but it has sparked controversy in recent years. In 2017, Iowa’s education department determined the Iowa City school district violated state and federal law in its use of seclusion rooms. School officials there stopped using the rooms, focusing instead on other behavioral interventions. Backers of the new proposed rules want seclusion rooms used far less than they are, and better parent notification and reporting on when seclusion occurs. In addition, new specifications on the seclusion rooms themselves…. The ACLU of Iowa and Disability Rights Iowa officials, who helped draft the rules petition, believe the use of seclusion rooms in some school districts have been used too widely, especially with students who have disabilities or are African-Americans. … ... Richard said the vast majority of students placed in seclusion rooms are students with disabilities, and that's why it's important to communicate with guardians about their care. …
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