Saturday Post-Conference Workshop

Keeping Schoolchildren Safe from Restraint and Seclusion


Parents and school personnel can be strong allies in ensuring school is a safe and pleasant learning environment for everyone. In recent years we have all become more aware of the use of restraint and seclusion techniques in classrooms around the United States, and that there is no evidence base to recommend these practices. Restraint and seclusion have resulted in trauma, injury and even death of children as young as five years old. While some schools claim to use seclusion and restraint for calming of students, research shows they have the opposite effect. Restraint and Seclusion are no longer considered safe or effective for treatment use in the mental health system and nursing homes and hospitals have strict prevention policies and trainings. Restraint is now understood to be a response of last choice in the face of a dangerous emergency, and successful systems put their energy into preventing emergencies by creating healthy and supportive cultures.

This day-long workshop will help parents, advocates and teachers understand how to work together to prevent and eliminate the dangerous and traumatizing practices of restraint and seclusion. It will emphasize the uneven patchwork of protections that exists nationwide, the need to become acquainted with these differing regulations on a state-by-state basis, and the need to continue advocating for a floor of federal protections.

Scholarship Opportunities

A limited number of Trainer Scholarships are available to support parents and self-advocates in California and other Western states to participate in this post-conference workshop. These are partial scholarships to cover registration for the all-day training workshop and support attendance; they are not inclusive of all expenses.

Parents and self-advocates trained through this event will be expected to provide a minimum of three free trainings to interested organizations or groups during 2013, spreading information and awareness on this important issue.

If you are not eligible for this scholarship or require additional funding, please view our tips for raising funds to participate in this workshop.

To receive a scholarship application form, or ask questions, contact Amy Feinberg at All applications will be due by October 15, 2012.


Participants will learn:

• Legal strategies and positive behavioral supports to prevent the use of restraints and seclusion in the schools

• How to be vigilant about recognizing the signs of an emerging problem

• What steps to take if restraint and seclusion have been used on a child

• How to use the materials in this training to teach others


Participants will be led through a series of discussions, including:

1. Communicating with school staff about behavioral, medical and support needs of children;
2. Creating a “Parent Report” to help school staff understand their child;
3. The proper uses of A-B-C reporting;
4. Understanding their child’s rights;
5. Recognizing physical and behavioral signs that may indicate danger; and
6. Seeking help if restraint or seclusion are suspected or are occurring.


Participants at this workshop can opt to become trainers, and return to their home states equipped to provide versions of this session to others. All participants will receive electronic copies of the presentation Powerpoint slides, Shouldn’t Schools be Safe?, sample letters (No Consent Letter, Gebser Letter, Physician’s Letter) for use with schools and other useful articles and sample documents.


Leslie Morrison

Leslie Morrison is the Director of the abuse division of Disability Rights California’s (DRC), the P&A for the State of California. An attorney and master’s level psychiatric nurse, she directs investigations of allegations of abuse and/or neglect involving persons with disabilities, with the focus being systemic reform. She is a national expert on the use of restraints and seclusion for behavior management. She has conducted a number of investigations into injuries and deaths resulting from the use of restraint and seclusion in a variety of settings, including treatment facilities, community residential facilities, and schools. In 2007, she issued the first of many reports nationally that drew attention to abusive and excessive seclusion and restraint practices in schools. She was the lead author on an issue brief, funded by SAMHSA (still unpublished) on prevention and reduction of seclusion and restraint in school settings. She has authored legislation to reform restraint and seclusion practices in CA.

Pat Amos

Private Consultant, member of the TASH Board of Directors, parent of four adults (three on the Autism Spectrum), one of the founders of APRAIS, Inclusion Specialist for Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.

Peg Kinsell

Mother of three young adults, one son on the Autism Spectrum, Director of Public Policy for the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, New Jerseyʼs Parent Training Information Center, and Co-Director of Military Family Support 360 Project of the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst