Monday, July 10, 2023
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MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today announced it has published information reported by Wisconsin schools on incidents when seclusion and physical restraint were used during the 2021-22 school year. Seclusion and restraint data and corresponding analysis can be found in a report available on the Wisconsin DPI’s website.
Pursuant to 2019 Wisconsin Act 118, Wisconsin schools are required to submit a report containing information on the use of seclusion and restraint in schools to the DPI annually by Dec. 1. The 2021-22 school year is the third year this information is required to be submitted to the DPI. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some Wisconsin schools shifting from in-person instruction to virtual instruction, the DPI urges caution and does not recommend comparing incident rates across schools or to the previous academic year.
“Reading this report and seeing these numbers can be difficult, but that is nothing in comparison with the emotional difficulty these numbers represent in the lived experiences of students and staff,” State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly said. “We must continue our commitment to reducing the frequency of these incidents, and we must especially focus on using this information to better inform and improve our systems and best practices when working with our students with disabilities.”
Statewide, schools reported 5,908 instances of seclusion and 6,916 instances where physical restraint was used. Among those instances, 1,920 students were involved in seclusion incidents, and 2,856 were involved in physical restraint instances. Data does not indicate whether incidents of seclusion and restraint occurred simultaneously. Students in elementary schools were involved in a higher percentage of instances of seclusion and/or physical restraint than other types of schools. In addition, students with individualized education programs (IEPs) were involved in instances at a higher rate than other students, comprising 79 percent of all seclusion incidents and 76 percent of all physical restraint incidents reported for the 2021-22 school year.
Resources for practices that support the reduction of seclusion and restraint, along with additional data at the school and district level are available on the Wisconsin DPI’s seclusion and restraint webpage.