The restraint and seclusion of individuals—practices usually associated with highly restrictive environments—are extreme responses to student behavior used in some public schools. In this brief, authors Douglas Gagnon, Marybeth Mattingly, and Vincent Connelly report that restraint and seclusion are used much more frequently on students with a disability than on students without a disability. In addition, the majority of U.S. school districts does not restrain or seclude students with a disability; 59.3 percent of districts report no instances of restraint, while 82.5 percent do not report a single instance of seclusion. However, a small proportion of districts report exceedingly high rates. The authors also find that low-poverty, low-diversity school districts use restraint and seclusion on students with a disability more than twice as often as high-poverty, high-diversity districts. The authors conclude that, overall, the relationships between restraint and seclusion rates, and disability type and school characteristics, warrant further research. This brief draws on data from the 2009–2010 Civil Rights Data Collection and the 2009 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates.

Publication Date



National Issue Brief No. 67


Durham, N.H. : Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2013. The Carsey Institute. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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