The Movement is Growing

This blog was authored by Kim Sanders, Ukeru Systems’ President

In mid December, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights issued a report,Securing Equal Educational Opportunity, citing a significant increase in complaints involving the restraint and seclusion of children with disabilities. According to this report, the overall number of complaints filed in 2015 soared to a record 16,720. The largest increases were in the areas of restraint or seclusion of students with disabilities; harassment based on race, color, or national origin; and sexual violence.

While we might have ended 2016 with this alarming data, we’re in a new year now. So let’s set the stage with some good news: the OCR report shows that an increasing number of people are standing up for the rights of children. They are recognizing that restraint and seclusion should not be an acceptable form of behavior modification, especially for children with disabilities.

Here’s some more good news: these individuals are part of a broader movement. If you want proof, look no further than Ukeru’s experience last year. Our efforts to help reduce the use of restrain and seclusion last year included:

  • Working with more than a dozen different organizations/systems across 13 states;
  • Training 2,400 people on the Ukeru System – 283 individuals were trained to be trainers, themselves;
  • Supplying over 1,000 pieces of blocking equipment;
  • Sharing our message at nearly a dozen events; and
  • Hosting nearly 300 people on our webinars.

The movement is clearly growing. But this is only the beginning; we still have an enormous amount of work to do. The number of complaints reported by the OCR will likely continue to rise unless educators are given training that offers meaningful interventions and safe alternatives that can be used instead of restraint or seclusion. And, of course, there are many other environments, aside from schools, where these approaches are used – such as behavioral health and juvenile justice organizations, for example.

Given all this, it wasn’t difficult for Ukeru to determine a New Year’s resolution: continue our efforts to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion. We hope you, too, will join the movement!