State officials turned down a Wisconsin school district’s plan to use federal stimulus dollars to build seclusion areas for use with students who have disabilities.

The Greenfield, Wis. school board came under fire after it approved a plan last month to use $131,000 in federal stimulus funds to construct seclusion areas and a life-skills classroom. School district officials said the seclusion areas would be used merely to allow students a quiet space to calm down. The planned areas were not slated to have doors, but were to be separated from classrooms by walls and windows.

But the very idea of seclusion areas drew ire from disability advocates who have waged a staunch campaign over the past year to rid schools of the use of restraint and seclusion. In May, a federal government report found hundreds of cases of allegedly abusive and even deadly uses of restraint and seclusion techniques in the nation’s schools, primarily among special education students. And in December, legislation was introduced in Congress to curb use of the practices.

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Now the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, which oversees the use of federal stimulus money in the state’s school districts, has rejected the plan citing “the federal discussion and possible legislation regarding the use of seclusion.” Further, the department informed school districts across the state that federal funding would not be approved for similar purposes, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. To read more click here.

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