• Read the DPI document “Directives for the Appropriate Use of Seclusion and Physical Restraint in Special Education Programs”, available on-line at These directives are the professional standard in the state. Use of seclusion must be in accordance with these directives.
  • Is there immediate danger to the student or others? If not, seclusion should not be used. Seclusion is not to be used for verbal misbehavior (e.g., swearing or yelling) or non-compliance (e.g., refusing to do work, not bringing in homework). If the student is threatening, then the threat is assessed to determine whether the student has the immediate means to carry it out (example: scissors or broken glass in hand as weapons).
  • The IEP must include positive interventions and strategies, and annual goals should address replacement behaviors. Short-term objectives or benchmarks may be used and are often helpful in task-analyzing the steps to the goal and for measuring progress toward the goal.
  • There must be a continuum of interventions, with seclusion being a very restrictive last-resort option.
  • Be aware of district procedures such as keeping a log or incident report, notifying parents and administrators, etc.
  • Where in the IEP might seclusion be included?
    • On a separate IEP page headed “BIP” if the district uses one
    • In the program summary (I-14) section on special education
    • On the special factors page
    • Bottom line: somewhere in the IEP

IEP Language:

  1. Describe student behavior that will result in the use of seclusion. Be specific (e.g., when Jimmy throws books or overturns desks; when Mary kicks, bites, slaps or punches) about what a person would see or hear to know that seclusion should be initiated. Avoid words open to interpretation such as “appropriate”, “inappropriate”, “disruptive”, “aggressive”, “out of control”, etc.
  2. If there is a specified time limit (e.g., 10 minutes) then list that. Describe specifically what will end the period of seclusion.
  3. What’s Plan B? It is good practice to discuss some of the “what ifs”: What if the student continues to escalate, or is not calming down? What if the student briefly calms down, but then re-escalates upon leaving the seclusion area? What if key people (e.g., the principal, the special education teacher or paraprofessional) are not available (out of the building at a meeting, ill, etc.)?



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