New AASA Study: Schools Use Restraint Responsibly

Parents Cite Benefits of Appropriate Interventions

Contact: Kitty Porterfield, AASA,, 703-774-6953

ARLINGTON, Va., March 8, 2012. The American Association of School Administrators today released a new report entitled Keeping Schools Safe: How Seclusion and Restraint Protects Students and School Personnel. The study documents the importance of preserving school districts’ ability to use seclusion and restraint techniques in situations where a student is in danger of hurting himself, another student, or a school staff member.

“These techniques enable schools to educate students with severe behavioral difficulties in the least restrictive environment possible,” said Daniel Domenech, AASA executive director, in introducing the report. “These are practices that keep everyone safe.

“Keeping Schools Safe makes clear,” Domenech continued, “that when school personnel use seclusion and restraint they do it only when it is absolutely necessary, when the alternative is risk of grave injury. The use of seclusion and restraint should never be commonplace, and it is certainly not a means of punishing bad behavior.

“AASA believes that federal legislation such as the proposed Keeping All Students Safe Act (S.2020) would undermine the ability of school personnel to effectively manage students with severe behavioral disorders,” Domenech concluded.

An AASA randomized survey of its membership from January to February 2012 found that injuries to teachers and other school staff members caused by unanticipated student outbursts are high:

• 25 percent of school districts surveyed by AASA reported that at least 20 times in the last school year, an administrator, teacher, paraprofessional, aide, or other school professional trained in proper seclusion and restraint techniques has been physically threatened or attacked by a student.

• 30 percent of school districts surveyed by AASA responded that within the last five years, there have been at least five hospitalizations of school staff due to unanticipated behavioral outbursts by students.
In addition to surveying school districts on injury data and the number of trained school personnel, Keeping Schools Safe includes stories and anecdotes from school personnel illustrating the need of districts to preserve their ability to use seclusion and restraint.

“This report underscores that behavioral management techniques such as de-escalation and positive behavioral support systems are not always adequate for addressing student behavior,” said Domenech. “School administrators and school personnel are not conspiring to harm children. We want to work together with parents to create an environment where all children can learn. These are tools that help us do that job.”

The complete report, authored by AASA Government Affairs Manager, Sasha Pudelski, can be found at

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About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. The mission of AASA is to advocate for the highest quality public education for all students, and develop and support school system leaders. For more information, visit Follow AASA on twitter at Become a fan of the AASA Facebook page at