Georgia Restricts Disciplinary Restraints

Last Updated: July 23, 2010

This article appeared in the July 2010 Rural Policy Matters.

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Georgia’s State Board of Education has banned seclusion rooms, chemical restraints (medications), and the use of prone restraints, in which a student is held face down on the floor. Under the new rules, parents must be notified within one day if any physical restraint has been used on their child.

Nationally, special education advocates have been publicizing mistreatment of students by schools using these techniques, and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called for all states to review their policies on student restraint.

Gainesville, Georgia was the location of one of the most tragic examples of how these techniques fail, when, in 2004, a 13-year-old student hanged himself while in a seclusion room in a Hall County public school.

Advocates in Georgia and nationwide are also pushing for schools to keep data on the use of restraint practices and for sanctions for schools that do not limit the practice. The Georgia State Superintendent of Education has said he expects a data collection system to be in place soon.

Read more:

Background on the policy’s progress:

Coverage of one of the public hearings on the proposed rule:

Coverage on the rule’s passage:

Read more from the July 2010 Rural Policy Matters.