California imposes new limits on the use of restraint and seclusion in school

October 3, 2018


Governor Brown signed a bill into law this week prohibiting the use of restraint and seclusion in California schools except in very limited circumstances. The law proscribes staff "from using a behavioral restraint or seclusion for the purpose of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation." 


Prior to the signing of this bill, the then existing law was much less limiting: it only forbade staff from inflicting or causing to inflict corporal punishment on a student. 


The new law, Assembly Bill 2657, goes much further than the prior law in protecting students: the law will only permit the use of restraint and seclusion to control behavior that poses a clear and present danger of serious physical harm to the student or others that cannot be immediately be prevented by a response that is less restrictive. 


Disability Rights California sponsored AB 2657, which was  authored by Assembly member Shirley Weber. According to Disability Rights California, “Restraint and seclusion do not keep children safe...There is no evidence restraint or seclusion are effective in reducing the problem behaviors that frequently precipitate the use of such techniques...Restraint and seclusion cause serious injury, long lasting trauma and death, even when done safely and correctly."


Thank goodness for the new legal limitation on these dangerous practices.


Education Attorney Martha Watson

Serving families in special education matters throughout California

Please call us at 916-724-5211










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