CEC Institute on Physical Restraint & Seclusion


Institute Leader:

Reece Peterson, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Institute Presenters:

  • Mike Rozalski, Binghamton University, NY
  • Joseph B. Ryan, Clemson University, South Carolina
  • Brenda Scheuermann, Texas State University, San Marcos


The use of physical restraint and seclusion procedures with students has become very controversial.  These procedures have resulted in deaths and injuries which has motivated many proposed changes at the federal and state level. There is now a consensus in the professional community that these procedures not be used unless there is a risk of immanent physical injury to someone by a student, and that if used they should be employed only by trained personnel under carefully prescribed procedures with documentation and clear communication with parents. 

This institute will provide special educators with the most current information about this topic.  Presenters will provide an overview of the current status of federal and state polices, discuss ethical and practice issues, propose preventative and alternative procedures including de-escalation which could prevent the need for the use of restraint or seclusion, and suggest policy guidelines for schools and districts.

Participant Outcomes

  • Understand the current apparent over-use and inappropriate use of physical restraint and seclusion in many locations, and how that may indicate a failure of programming for students.
  • Understand the dangers, potentially abusive situations, and ethical problems which may result from the use of physical restraint or seclusion procedures.
  • Identify current laws, policies, and guidelines governing the use of physical restraint and seclusion procedures in school settings as well as related recommendations for practice in using these procedures.
  • Identify a variety of prevention and conflict de-escalation strategies to minimize the need for using physical restraint and seclusion procedures in schools.
  • Identify key components in an action plan on how educators can create or evaluate their policies and procedures, their training, and individual practice guidelines for the use of these procedures.