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DRO’s "Keep School Safe for Everyone" Campaign

We aim to eliminate abusive use of restraint and seclusion in Oregon schools.

Every child should be safe and protected at school.  Yet, a national investigation recently found that hundreds of students have been abusively restrained and secluded in their classrooms.  Some have even died as a result. 

The victims were disproportionately students with disabilities. 

Disability Rights Oregon is currently working on three cases involving severe misuse of restraint and seclusion:

  • An eight-year-old boy diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder was handcuffed by police for pushing chairs up and down a school hallway.
  • A first grader with a communication disorder was restrained 14 times and secluded (for up to three hours) 15 times during a six-month period.  Most of these incidents were neither properly documented nor promptly reported to the child’s parents.
  • A high school freshman with autism and very limited verbal skills was handcuffed and shackled by police, then taken to a hospital.  The boy had been placed in a classroom where the teacher was not adequately trained in behavior management techniques.

Our "Keep School Safe for Everyone" campaign

In 2007, at our urging, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) enacted rules limiting the use of restraint and seclusion to situations in which a student’s behavior poses a threat of imminent, serious physical harm to the student or others.  However, ODE has recently decided that it has no power to enforce its own rules.  Obviously, this creates a situation in which school districts using restraint and seclusion as punishment, for convenience or in other ways that constitute abuse are not effectively regulated.

DRO’s Keep School Safe for Everyone campaign aims to eliminate abusive use of restraint and seclusion by:

  1. Educating parents of children with disabilities about the issue
  2. Examining the policies and procedures of all 197 school districts
  3. Monitoring the implementation of those policies and procedures and
  4. Pushing for enforceable standards regarding use of restraint and seclusion in Oregon's schools.

 

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