Since 2007, Disability Law Colorado has conducted a targeted initiative to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion of public school students with disabilities.
Our advocates have conducted more than 50 investigations statewide into allegations of abuse and neglect related to restraint and seclusion.
Although the individual investigations have made a significant impact on this practice, our survey of school districts, funded by the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council, takes a broader approach. The goal is to obtain an overall picture of the use of restraints and seclusion within Colorado schools in an effort to reduce and eventually eliminate the practice.
Protection of Persons from Restraint Act
In 2009, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) released rules on the implementation of the Protection of Persons from Restraint Act.
These rules provide guidance on the use of restraint in schools and require each school district to document all incidents of seclusion or restraint and compile them into an annual review. With the assistance of CDE, Disability Law Colorado has requested these annual reports from each Colorado school district.
We have received responses from over 60 percent of the school districts in Colorado.
Reporting and Analysis
Our next step will be to compile and analyze that data and begin to identify major trends, with the goal of addressing problems through targeted training and improved support for staff working with special education students.
The cooperation of so many of Colorado’s school districts and the Colorado Department of Education has been extremely rewarding. We appreciate their support and are optimistic that the information they have provided will help lead to an eventual end to restraint and seclusion in Colorado schools.