Monday, March 22, 2010

OCR to Collect Statistical Data RE: Seclusion & Restraints as well as Discipline of Students With Disabilities

Legality of corporal punishment in the United ...Image via Wikipedia

The Office of Civil Rights, like OSEP a division of the Office of Special Education & Rehabilitative Services, of the federal Department of Education, has announced that it will begin collecting statistical data about more than just harassment. OCR will now determine the frequency of the use of seclusion and restraints as well as the use of discipline for all students. The data will be disaggregated (statistics-talk for broken down by race, ethnicity, sex, disability and limited English proficiency. Here is the official OCR press release. OCR also has developed a new website where the data may be reviewed.

The addition of seclusion and restraints is not surprising. This is the current hot button issue in special education law, as it should be. The horror stories recently exposed that lead to the new legislation were not acceptable. Look for more regulation in this area.

The part that surprised me is the inclusion of student discipline stats in this data collection. This is potentially a huge development. You may remember that last August, I ran a post about a study that concluded that kids with disabilities are singled out for corporal punishment. Could this be what prompted OCR to look at discipline statistics? If so, it could be a signal that the OCR leadership considers districts who punish kids with disabilities disproportionately to be guilty of a civil rights violation? This would be news.

What do you think should OCR study or pursue the alleged over-disciplining of kids with disabilities as well as the abuse of seclusion and restraints? Stay tuned this could get very interesting.


  1. I would like to hear others comments on this topic. I am in my first year of teaching and the discipline for students with disabilities is non existent. I am very interested in this topic and cannot wait to hear back!

  2. Thanks for the comment Kelee