The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today announced that the Southeastern Cooperative Educational Programs (SECEP) in Virginia entered into a resolution agreement regarding the use of restraint and seclusion and the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities.
Pursuant to the agreement, SECEP committed to take steps necessary to ensure that it does not use restraint and seclusion in a way that denies to students with disabilities the FAPE to which they are entitled under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
OCR identified concerns that SECEP may have denied FAPE to students with disabilities when it did not reevaluate students after multiple incidents of restraint and seclusion and when students missed significant instructional time.
“I thank SECEP for its commitment to reviewing the use of restraint and seclusion in its program, including reviewing the educational needs of students with disabilities, to ensure that SECEP is providing services that address those needs,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon.
During its review, OCR investigated SECEP’s use of restraint and seclusion by reviewing information about incidents in which SECEP restrained and secluded students with disabilities starting in the 2016-2017 school year.
OCR’s investigation identified concerns that students who had multiple incidents of restraints and seclusions lost educational time and services and that SECEP did not re-evaluate those students to determine whether they should receive additional or different supports and compensatory services. Additionally, OCR identified concerns with the adequacy of SECEP’s procedures, training, and recordkeeping.
SECEP’s 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 SECEP’s willingness to serve its students with disabilities.
SECEP’s commitments to resolve the compliance review include:
- Formalizing its policy and procedures on the use of restraint and
- Modifying its recordkeeping system.
- Training staff on SECEP’s revised policy and procedures and new recordkeeping system.
- Reviewing files of currently enrolled students who were restrained and secluded since the start of the 2016-2017 school year to determine, in part, whether any student requires compensatory education for educational services missed due to incidents of restraint and
- Developing and implementing an internal assessment tool to monitor and oversee SECEP’s use of restraint and
The letter to SECEP is available here and the resolution agreement is available here.