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NCD Letter on Restraint and Seclusion

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Honorable Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan
Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education
House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives
2411 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Rick Allen
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education
House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives
2400 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Chairman Sablan and Ranking Member Allen,

I write on behalf of the National Council on Disability (“NCD”), an independent non-partisan federal agency with a mission to advise Congress, the President and other federal agencies on disability policy issues and to advance the goals of the ADA, equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. From the beginning of our more than 40-year history when we were established as a small advisory Council within the Department of Education in 1978 NCD has worked to promote policies that promote safe educational environments for children with disabilities free from unnecessary and inappropriate restraint and seclusion. We applaud this committee for taking up the important discussion of how to ensure that all children, including children with disabilities, are educated in environments where they are treated with dignity and respect.

In November of last year, NCD wrote to the House and Senate sponsors of the “Keeping all Students Safe Act” (H.R. 7124) to applaud its introduction and reiterate our long-held position that no school should receive federal funds when their policies and procedures lead to the unnecessary, inappropriate and disproportionate restraint and seclusion of children with disabilities. 

Additionally, NCD has repeatedly recognized the importance of federal data collection conducted by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights’ (OCR) Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), recommending that the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights engage in robust enforcement of the mandatory CRDC reporting requirements to ensure that public schools (including charter schools) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) submit all data on suspensions, expulsions, incidents of restraints and seclusion, and school-based arrests disaggregated by disability.

Finally, NCD has also long opposed the use of any type of aversive therapy and specifically has issued several calls for the FDA to take action to stop the use of “aversive conditioning” at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts and we are pleased that they are moving forward with finalizing regulations to end that odious practice.

NCD commends this Committee for taking steps to further elevate this important conversation about how to improve the educational environment for all students, including children with disabilities. We look forward to working with all the members of this Committee to explore ways to maintain safe and productive educational environments and rise to the challenge of educating children with and without disabilities while eliminating the inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion.


Neil Romano

CC:Chairman Scott
Ranking Member Foxx

An official website of the National Council on Disability