Ban the Use of Seclusion Rooms
  • Petitioned ohio department of education

This petition was delivered to:

ohio department of education
Superintendent for the Ohio Dept. of Education
Michael Sawyers
Head of the Ohio Dept. of Education's special education efforts
Sasheen Phillips

Ban the Use of Seclusion Rooms

    1. Petition by

      The Rainbird Foundation

Public schools are working hard to crack down on bullying, but in some Ohio schools, teachers are the bullies.

Brendon Spencer faces challenges every day: ADHD, Aspergers’ syndrome, and a mood disorder. He was often teased and attacked as a 5th grade student in an Ohio elementary school. Now, at fifteen, Brendon recalls his punishment for defending himself: “They’d shut off the lights…and make you put your head down, and it just made me feel like I was alone in darkness forever.”

Seclusion rooms like the one Brendon was locked in, are used in public schools across Ohio.

Many of these rooms are as small as closets, sometimes covered in spit and reeking of urine.

Sixty percent of secluded children have special needs. Seclusion rooms have caused nervous breakdowns. In extreme cases, students are locked inside and denied lunch. 

 Seclusion rooms need to be a sad fact of the past!!

In theory, seclusion rooms are supposed to separate physically aggressive students from their peers and faculty, but evidence debunks this argument. A Youngstown school used a seclusion room 42 times in one month. Only four of the cases were a result of physical aggression. At a school near Cleveland, a boy was sent to a ‘de-escalation area’ 30 times in just two months.

Professor Joe Ryan, vice president of the Council for Children With Behavioral Disorders, says that isolating students has severe risks that outweigh any alleged benefits. Barb Trader, executive director of the disability advocacy group TASH, said “Restraint and seclusion are being used for convenience and punishment rather than for kids who are truly dangerous.”

So why does the Ohio Department of Education insist on using Seclusion Rooms?

Studies show that children don’t learn in a frightening environment where they feel threatened. Children need safety and protection at school. The Ohio Department of Education needs to train its staff to discipline rather than punish, and put the barbaric days of child prisons behind us.


Recent signatures


    1. Reached 100 signatures
    2. Shape Ohio's Seclusion Policy

      You now have a chance to voice your concern! The Ohio Department of Education is collecting public feedback regarding a draft policy and state rule concerning seclusion and restraint in schools. Click on this article to see where you can add your concern:

      Here's Your Chance to Shape Ohio's Seclusion and Restraint Policy

      Tina M. Steele / Flickr Seclusion rooms are enclosed spaces that are supposed to be used to calm or restrain children who become violent. Seclusion - and restraint, or physical force used to control a child - are often used for children with disabilities. Seclusion and restraint are supposed to be used only in emergencies.

    3. Reached 50 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Ryan Anderson SOUTH SAINT PAUL, MN
      • almost 2 years ago

      end this so horrible!

    • Susan Stefan RUTLAND, MD
      • almost 2 years ago

      this kind of experience can traumatize a child for a long long time. This is not what school is supposed to be for kids.

    • Carolyn Medina HESPERIA, CA
      • almost 2 years ago

      regulating the use restraint & seclusion is too expensive and unnecessary?? are you kidding Ohio Edu?? Abuse to disabled children IS within your budget? What kind of "education" do you have to offer a child trapped in seclusion? What IS unnecessary is putting your hands on students with disabilities, subjecting them to harm, damaging their well being, isolating them from social integration, false imprisonment, inflicting stress disorders, and claiming your expenses of funding for special needs to provide services is at risk. You are obligated to ACCOMMODATE individualized disability services on behalf of serving your duty to education!! Your method of misallocating funding to train your groups of staff in physical force by inflicting pain and trapping children away from getting help in order to refuse educational needs is a direct failure of performing the obligation of what you are paid to do. ***I know what is too expensive.. its a Board of superintendents who refuse to perform their job and protect children..***

    • Danelle Bakke HAVRE, MT
      • about 2 years ago

      I have a nephe that has had this form of discipline given to him. It is very negative.

    • Stacy Clement LOGAN, OH
      • about 2 years ago

      My son is autistic and I couldn't imagine someone doing this to him.


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