Investigation Reveals Wisconsin School Violated Seclusion and Restraint Policies

An investigation recently uncovered that a Wisconsin school failed to adhere to multiple seclusion and restraint policies, neglecting adequate training, proper documentation of incidents, post-incident debriefing, parent notification, and removing a door lock from the seclusion room.

The investigation, led by attorney Daniel Unertl from Attoles Law, delved into the treatment of a first-grade student at Weston Elementary School in fall 2023. The school, situated in rural Cazenovia, Wisconsin, comprises approximately 140 students. The inquiry stemmed from a complaint by Candice Corey, the student’s mother, alleging physical harm to her son by staff members. Additionally, Corey criticized the district for insufficiently documenting and communicating seclusion and restraint occurrences.

Corey expressed that her son, kept anonymous for privacy, experienced lasting trauma from these incidents.

Seclusion involves confining a student forcibly, while physical restraint restrains a student’s movements—a means to address student behavior in schools. Wisconsin mandates using these practices only when a student poses an imminent risk to themselves or others, emphasizing the least restrictive intervention. However, the application of these methods on elementary school students with disabilities has raised concerns for decades due to their adverse effects. State laws enacted in 2010 and 2019 aimed to regulate these practices to minimize harm. Nevertheless, advocates assert remaining challenges in ensuring schools comply with these regulations.

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