NPR & Pro Publica Feature Stories on Restraint & Seclusion

June 19, 2014

Today, NPR and its public-interest investigative journalism affiliate, ProPublica, are running stories about the widespread use of restraint and seclusion, including the lack of state laws, the data, the need to pass the Keeping All Students Safe Act and the tremendous work of Senator Harkin and Congressman Miller.

See and 

Congressman Miller is quoted about the outrageous failure to inform parents, a point that he has repeatedly brought to the forefront of this discussion. Senator Harkin's report and work is featured. NPR and ProPublica obtained the complete OCR data and analyzed it, showing that 75% of the incidents involved students with disabilities. NPR also established that the zeroes reported by districts can indicate a failure to report information.

Both stories focus on the experience of a student in Virginia, who was placed in a regional segregated school for students with disabilities and then badly injured from restraint and seclusion. And both stress the need to shift to Positive Behavioral Supports, which prevent challenging behavior and keep everyone safe. The stories include the work of the P&As to represent individual families, often without resources.

by Jessica Butler
Congressional Affairs Coordinator
Autism National Committee