U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights Reaches Agreement to Resolve Restraint and Seclusion Compliance Review of Horry County Schools in South Carolina

U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights Reaches Agreement to Resolve Restraint and Seclusion Compliance Review of Horry County Schools in South Carolina

May 24, 2022

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on Monday resolved a compliance review of the Horry County Schools in South Carolina. The district committed to take steps necessary to ensure that students with disabilities receive the free appropriate public education (FAPE) to which they are entitled without unnecessary restraint or seclusion or missed instruction.

OCR’s investigation identified concerns that students who were repeatedly subjected to restraint or seclusion lost educational time and services, and that the district did not re-evaluate students who were repeatedly restrained or secluded to determine whether they should receive additional supports or compensatory services.

The district’s agreement to change its practices with respect to the use of restraint or seclusion, and its commitment to examine and remedy prior instances where restraint and seclusion of its students may have denied them a FAPE, reflect the district’s willingness to address the civil rights of its students.

“I thank Horry County Schools for its commitment to revise its practices and procedures regarding the use of restraint and seclusion to ensure that students with disabilities receive the education to which they are entitled,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights.

The district’s commitments to resolve the investigation include:

  • Revising its procedures and guidance documents on the use of restraint or seclusion.
  • Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of those involved in monitoring and oversight of the district’s use of restraint or seclusion.
  • Modifying its recordkeeping system.
  • Creating a plan to accurately report data to the Civil Rights Data Collection.
  • Training staff on the district’s procedures and new recordkeeping system.
  • Reviewing files of currently enrolled students who were restrained or secluded since the start of the 2017-2018 school year to determine, in part, whether any student requires compensatory education for educational services missed due to incidents of restraint or seclusion. And,
  • Implementing a monitoring program to assess the district’s use of restraint or seclusion.

The letter to Horry County Schools is available here and the resolution agreement is available here.