Children Are Routinely Isolated In Some Fairfax County Schools. The District Didn’t Report It.

WAMU 88.5

For years, Fairfax County Public Schools reported to the federal government that not a single student was physically restrained or trapped in an isolating space.

But documents obtained by WAMU reveal hundreds of cases where children, some as young as 6 years old, were restrained or put in seclusion multiple times. In some cases, a single child was confined to a room almost 100 times in a school year.

Fairfax County guidelines say this technique is used as a last resort — if a student is considered a danger to themselves or others. But parents of students who were repeatedly secluded or restrained say they felt that school officials used these methods as a first response.

Democrats in Congress want to take the regulations a step further than Virginia lawmakers. Last month, they held a hearing on the use of seclusion and restraint in which multiple Democrats, including House representative Don Beyer (D-VA), voiced support for reintroducing a bill that would make the use of seclusion in public schools completely illegal and limit the use of restraints. They also want to tighten oversight and reporting of the use of seclusion and restraint.

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