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Special Education Listserv

Subject: Seclusion Restraint U.S. Department of Education Guidance Document

Source: Stephen Barr, Assistant Commissioner

Intended Audience: School District Administrators and Stakeholders

Date: May 16, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education has issued a publication that outlines principles for educators, parents and other stakeholders to consider when developing or refining policies and procedures to support positive behavioral interventions and avoid the use of restraint and seclusion. The goal of this resource document is to help ensure that schools are safe and healthy environments where all students can learn, develop and participate in instructional programs that promote high levels of academic achievement.

Missouri law 160.263 requires that all districts have a policy on seclusion and restraint.  This publication provides guidance that districts may want to consider as they review their policy to make sure it is appropriate and up to date.

The 15 principles that frame the document highlight how schoolwide behavioral interventions can significantly reduce or eliminate the use of restraint or seclusion. These guiding principles offer states, districts and other education leaders a framework for developing appropriate policies related to restraint and seclusion to ensure the safety of adults and children. The document provides a synopsis of ongoing efforts by federal agencies to address national concerns about using restraint and seclusion in schools, and includes links to some state restraint and seclusion policies and procedures.  This document may be accessed at

The document omits a link to the Missouri model policy which can be found at