In Ohio, no state law governs seclusion rooms, and the Ohio Department of Education has provided little guidance and virtually no oversight to schools.
But the discussion about whether or how to regulate seclusion in schools has continued in the U.S. for nearly four decades.
In 2012, after accounts of inappropriate restraint and seclusion of Columbus students made news, the Ohio Department of Education restarted a 2009 task force that had drafted a state policy on the use of seclusion and restraint. The department says a new draft policy will be completed in August 2012.
Seclusion rooms can be crucial tools to keep students who may quickly spin out of control and become violent safe. Many educators say seclusion rooms should be used only when children are at risk of hurting themselves or others.
There is little evidence that seclusion helps children but plenty of evidence that it hurts them. Seclusion rooms do take children out of the classroom, where they could be learning.
Teachers and students can be injured forcing a struggling child into a seclusion room. Research shows that children have committed suicide, hurt themselves and even died inside seclusion rooms.
Locked Away: Moving Away From "Mainstreaming" | StateImpact Ohio