New research suggests that local factors may play the biggest role in determining how likely students with disabilities are to experience restraint and seclusion at school.

An analysis looking at rates of restraint and seclusion of those with disabilities in American schools across two years finds that most districts rarely employ the practices while a small group of districts report “exceedingly high rates.”

In many cases, however, researchers found that variation between high-use and low-use districts was most pronounced within the same states.

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“Although state differences do exist, such differences are overshadowed by the much more meaningful differences that are present between districts of the same state,” wrote researchers from the University of New Hampshire in their findings published recently in the Journal of Disability Policy Studies.

For the study, researchers looked at data on school district use of restraint and seclusion reported to the U.S. Department of Education for the 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 school years.

The majority of districts reported no use of restraint or seclusion. However, the study found that among a small number of districts, the practices are “relatively common.”

These trends persisted in states with and without policies limiting the use of restraint and seclusion, the study found.

“It appears that the use of these practices is likely driven to a meaningful degree by local policy and school culture more generally,” the study authors concluded. “It could be that legislation alone will likely have little impact on the frequency of restraint and seclusion if the necessary training is not also supplied.”