As Congress works to limit the use of restraint and seclusion in schools, a Wisconsin district is planning to use federal stimulus dollars to build new seclusion areas.

The Greenfield, Wis. school board voted earlier this month to spend $131,000 in stimulus funds to construct seclusion and segregation areas intended to be used with special education students who need a quiet space to calm down. But the proposal is drawing concern from the state’s Department of Public Instruction and legislators who are worried that this could be the wrong use for much-needed education funding.

The school district’s plan caps a year when a federal government report uncovered hundreds of cases of abusive and even deadly uses of restraint and seclusion tactics with special education students. Legislation was introduced in Congress earlier this month intended to curb these practices.

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The school district insists that the new rooms — which will not have doors, but will be separated from the classroom by walls and windows — would merely provide a space for staff to help a student calm down if they are agitated. Wisconsin law requires that seclusion only be used as a last resort.

Critics, however, say that if money is spent on the rooms, they will be used, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. To read more click here.

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