Promoting the Least Restrictive Environment: The Impact of Restraint and Seclusion Policies on Students with Disabilities

Author
Liam Redinger
Page Body

Graduate research assistant, Liam Redinger, has published a policy brief, “Promoting the Least Restrictive Environment: The Impact of Restraint and Seclusion Policies on Students with Disabilities”. Redinger, a Master’s Student at the Truman School of Public Affairs, presents this brief at an important moment for the state of Missouri. On December 3rd, 2019, Missouri House Bills 1568 and 1569 were pre-filed, each proposing modifications to state provisions relating to seclusion and restraint policies in public schools. Missouri HB-1568 has passed through committee and is currently waiting to be scheduled for debate on in the House. Missouri adopted statute 160.263 on August 28th, 2009, compelling school districts to adopt comprehensive policies associated with restraint and seclusion. This statute, however, includes no specific language protecting students with disabilities. This gives school districts broad discretion in their application of restraint and seclusion. Such practices may be necessary for emergency situations, but human error may lead to harm for educators, school faculty, and students, especially those with a disability. This policy brief examines the nature of restraint and seclusion policies, the potential dangers such policies pose to students with disabilities, and several associated policy considerations.