Seclusion and Restraint

DESE released initial Seclusion and Restraint Data

– it is alarming!

This map puts the data together, so users can see the districts with the most seclusion and restraint reports. MoDE Foundation is working with partners to determine what steps should be taken to address the alarming information.

Note that the data by district from 7/1/2022 to 7/6/2023 was obtained from MO DESE through a Sunshine Request. The data can be viewed clicking here.

The Law

Governor Parson sitting at his desk signing the bill while thirteen legislators stand behind him.

Rep. Ian Mackey and Rep. Dottie Bailey sponsored legislation to strengthen MO laws related to seclusion, isolation, and restraint. The language from this legislation (HB387) was amended onto HB432 and was truly agreed and finally passed on May 13, 2021. Governor Parson signed it into law on July 14, 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Seclusion?

As defined in Section 160.263 RSMo: Seclusion the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area that the student is physically prevented from leaving and that complies with the building code in effect in the school district. “Seclusion” shall not include the following: (a) A timeout, which is a behavior management technique that is part of an approved program, involves the monitored separation of the student in a nonlocked setting, and is implemented for the purpose of calming; (b) In-school suspension; (c) Detention; or (d) Other appropriate disciplinary measures.

What is Restraint?

As defined in Section 160.263 RSMo: Physical Restraint – a personal restriction such as person-to-person physical contact that immobilizes, reduces, or restricts the ability of a student to move the student’s torso, arms, legs, or head freely. “Physical restraint” shall not include: (a) A physical escort, which is a temporary touching or holding of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or back for the purpose of inducing a student to walk to a safe location; (b) Comforting or calming a student; (c) Holding a student’s hand to transport the student for safety purposes; (d) Intervening in a fight; or (e) Using an assistive or protective device prescribed by an appropriately trained professional or professional team.

Does the law ban the use of seclusion and restraint?

No. However, the use of seclusion and restraint should ONLY be used in situations or conditions in which there is imminent danger of physical harm to self or others, and student should be removed from the seclusion or restraint as soon as the student is no longer an imminent danger to self or others.

In the Media

Kids locked away, held down: Investigating ‘seclusion & restraint’ practices at schools

Report by Joce Sterman, Alex Brauer and Andrea Nejman of The National Desk

A March 21, 2022, report showed a video of a child being restrained and secluded at a Maryland school. The 8-year-old child was injured by staff, and laid in a pool of his own blood in a seclusion room until school personnel returned. The article cites data from the US Dept of Education that shows:

  • 80% of students subjected to physical restraint had disabilities.
  • 77% of students subjected to seclusion had disabilities.