A study by Disability Rights Texas this month, “Harmful Restraint of Students with Disabilities in Texas Schools” recently found a trend in the disproportionate effects of restraint training and practices on students with disabilities in Texas.
The study shows that while students with disabilities represent approximately 9.8% of the state’s school population, they experienced 91% of restraints in Texas’ public schools during the 2018-19 school year.
On top of this they are often victims of underqualified and undertrained staff often using harmful and improper restraints as disciplinary practices.
Disability Rights Texas (DRTx), is a federally designated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agency for people with disabilities in the state aimed to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law.
As reported by the Houston Chronicle, the study by DRTx also highlights racial disparities in the use of restraints, especially among Black students, who were restrained at 2.5 times the rate that they attend Texas schools.
Additionally state law and Texas Education Agency regulations fall short by not requiring teachers and staff to receive “regular and adequate training,” and staff are not required to participate in de-escalation training. “They tie your arm behind your back and squeeze it tight. And it hurts your bones,” said Shirley Profit referring to the common practice at High Road Schools in Connecticut for students with disabilities. She stated these practices seem to be a disturbing trend across the country.