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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #20-102
December 11, 2020
Contact: Communications
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

California Department of Education Releases 2019-20 Data on Use of Restraints and Seclusions on Students

SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Education (CDE) today released data on the number of instances in which schools used restraints and seclusions on students, the first year of data under a state law that requires schools to track and report such instances to the CDE.

The 2019–20 school year was the first that required local educational agencies (LEAs) to track and report to the CDE the use of restraints and seclusions with students receiving both general education and special education to the CDE under AB 2657 External link opens in new window or tab.. The data provides a starting point for the state to identify important trends and target support to school leaders.

“Publicly reporting this data is an important first step toward improving transparency and accountability by bringing potential issues to the surface,” Thurmond said. “Now that we have this data, the CDE can use this information as a starting point to begin having deeper, critical conversations with school system leaders.”

The legislation, which became effective January 1, 2019, only allows for schools to use restraints or seclusions “to control behavior that poses a clear and present danger of serious physical harm to the pupil or others that cannot be immediately prevented by a response that is less restrictive” and prohibits the use of restraints or seclusions for the purpose of coercion, discipline, convenience, or retaliation.”

The law uses the following definitions:

  • Mechanical Restraint: Use of a device or equipment to restrict a pupil’s freedom of movement.
  • Physical Restraint: A personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a pupil to move his or her torso, arms, legs, or head freely. (This definition does not include temporary touching or holding of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or back for the purpose of inducing a student who is acting out to walk to a safe location.)
  • Seclusion: The involuntary confinement of a pupil alone in a room or area from which the pupil is physically prevented from leaving.

State law requires the CDE to report restraint and seclusion data at the LEA-level (county offices of education, school districts, and charter schools) and to disaggregate by race/ethnicity and gender. While not required by law, the CDE is also reporting separately for students attending non-public schools (NPS), the most restrictive placement for children with disabilities with the highest support needs. State law excludes restraints used by law enforcement.

A full breakdown of the first year of reporting this data under AB 2657 can be found below in Table 1.

Future years of reporting will provide a fuller picture of the use of restraints and seclusions in schools. Beyond the public reporting requirement in AB 2657, the CDE Special Education Division will use this data in its mandated monitoring activities to ensure that students with disabilities are receiving a Free and Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment.

Downloadable data files are available on the CDE Restraint and Seclusion web page.

Table 1: 2019–20 Statewide Restraint and Seclusion Data by Student Group

Ethnic/Racial Designation,
Student Program Group,
or Gender

Unduplicated Count of Students Mechanically Restrained

Percent of Students Mechanically Restrained

Unduplicated Count of Students Physically Restrained

Percent of Students Physically Restrained

Unduplicated Count of Students Secluded

Percent of Students Secluded

African American

33

36.3%

459

18.7%

76

21.1%

American Indian or Alaska Native

0

0.0%

20

0.8%

6

1.7%

Asian

2

2.2%

74

3.0%

10

2.8%

Filipino

0

0.0%

34

1.4%

6

1.7%

Hispanic or Latino

37

40.7%

985

40.1%

135

37.4%

Pacific Islander

1

1.1%

7

0.3%

1

0.3%

White

10

11.0%

721

29.3%

102

28.3%

Two or More Races

7

7.7%

125

5.1%

21

5.8%

Not Reported

1

1.1%

32

1.3%

4

1.1%

English Learners

13

14.3%

345

14.0%

37

10.2%

Foster Youth

10

11.0%

235

9.6%

33

9.1%

Homeless Youth

5

5.5%

137

5.6%

28

7.8%

Migrant Education

0

0.0%

13

0.5%

0

0.0%

Students with Disabilities

52

57.1%

2,041

83.1%

235

65.1%

Socioeconomically Disadvantaged

78

85.7%

1,756

71.5%

258

71.5%

504 Accommodation Plan

2

2.2%

64

2.6%

11

3.0%

Female

23

25.3%

435

17.7%

63

17.5%

Male

68

74.7%

2,022

82.3%

298

82.5%

Public Schools

87

95.6%

1,867

76.0%

297

82.3%

Non-Public Schools

4

4.4%

610

24.8%

65

18.0%

Statewide Total

91

100.0%

2,457

100.0%

361

100.0%

# # # #

Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Friday, December 11, 2020
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