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Montgomery County, MD: Restraint/seclusion 2nd highest in US; mostly SPED students

June 19, 2019, Bethesda (MD) Magazine: MCPS Student Seclusion Incidents Among the Highest in the Nation, Federal Watchdog Finds https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/schools/mcps-student-seclusion-incidents-among-the-highest-in-the-nation-federal-watchdog-finds/ Reports show majority of pupils put in isolation, restraint were in special-education programs Among the nation’s 30 largest school districts, Montgomery County schools report the second-highest number of incidents where students are placed in isolation rooms for behavior problems, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The report, examining the quality of the data the U.S. Department of Education collects on school systems’ use of seclusion and physical restraint, showed the Montgomery school system reported 120 incidents of seclusion in the 2015-2016 school year and 332 cases of physical restraint, both among largest totals reported by school systems with more than 100,000 students. Baltimore County Public Schools, with about 45,000 fewer students than Montgomery’s, reported the largest number of seclusion incidents with 157. The practice of isolating a student to a confined area has come under fire from education activists who say doing so impedes a student’s education and can pose physical and mental health dangers. School system leaders across the country argue seclusion is a last resort intervention reserved for situations where children pose serious safety threats to themselves or others. The GAO report was prompted by concerns that school districts have been underreporting incidents of seclusion.


The most recent data showed 70% of the more than 17,000 school districts nationwide reported zero incidents of restraint and seclusion, according to the report from the congressional watchdog office, but its analysis found the data does not “accurately capture all incidents of restraint and seclusion in schools.” … A special education student’s individualized education plan, approved by their guardian, can outline specific behaviors and circumstances in which restraint or seclusion can be used, according to the policy, and seclusion and restraint acts are not allowed to last longer than 30 minutes….