U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Reaches Agreement to Resolve Restraint and Seclusion Compliance Review of Michigan’s Huron Valley Schools

U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Reaches Agreement to Resolve Restraint and Seclusion Compliance Review of Michigan’s Huron Valley Schools

January 19, 2022

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today resolved a compliance review of the Huron Valley Schools near Detroit. The district entered a voluntary resolution agreement to take steps necessary to ensure that students with disabilities receive the free appropriate public education (FAPE) to which they are entitled, including requiring the district to review its use of restraint and seclusion; assessing whether students with disabilities who were subjected to restraint and seclusion require additional remedies or services, including compensatory education; and developing new systems for documenting the use of restraint or seclusion.

“Huron Valley Schools has agreed to take important steps to ensure that students with disabilities in its schools receive the free and appropriate public education to which federal law entitles them,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon.

OCR reviewed Huron Valley Schools as part of a series of 24 compliance reviews initiated nationwide related to restraint and seclusion, which began in January 2019. OCR’s investigation indicated compliance concerns, including students who were repeatedly subjected to restraint and seclusion that resulted in lost educational time and services, indications that the district did not re-evaluate whether students who were repeatedly restrained and secluded should receive additional or different supports, and the absence of accurate and complete documentation of the use of restraint and seclusion

The district’s voluntary agreement to change its practices with respect to the use of restraint and 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. The district made significant commitments in the agreement, including, for example:

  • Assessing whether students with disabilities who were subjected to restraint and seclusion from September 2017 through January 2022 were denied a FAPE and require compensatory education.
  • Implementing a policy regarding the appropriate use and documentation of restraint and seclusion.
  • Implementing a monitoring program to assess the district’s use of restraint and seclusion on a monthly basis and developing a policy and forms for documenting and tracking the restraint and seclusion of district students. And,
  • Providing training to staff on restraint and seclusion, the district’s documentation policy and forms, and the requirements of Section 504 and Title II.

The letter to Huron Valley Schools is available here and the resolution agreement is available here.