The Connecticut Department of Education (CDE) recently released a report on the use of restraint and seclusion by Connecticut public schools in the 2012-13 school year. According to the report, there were 33,742 separate incidents of restraint and seclusion of students, a nine percent decrease from the previous year. A total of 2,455 students accounted for these incidents.

According to the report, 71 percent of the restraints and seclusions were in response to emergency risk of harm, while the remainder took place in accordance with an IEP. Some students were subjected to multiple incidents of restraint and seclusion, including 40 students who were subjected to these practices more than 100 times during the school year, and 11 students who were physically restrained or secluded between 300 and 900 times during the school year.

The report from the CDE shows that autism was the primary disability among special education students who were subjected to physical restraint or seclusion, with 40 percent of such incidents involving a child diagnosed with autism. Additionally, autism accounted for nearly half of the cases in which children were put in seclusion as part of their IEP.

About half of all incidents involved special education students in grades five and below. And 57 percent of the students who were restrained or secluded were African-American or Hispanic, despite the fact that the majority of special education students statewide are white.

The Report concluded that a “continued examination” of the data will inform “technical assistance and trainings” to promote the use of positive interventions and reduce the reliance on restraint and seclusion by public schools.