Restraint in the Shadows

Examining SELPA reports on seclusion and restraint | EdSource
By John C. Osborn

EdSource created easy-to-read downloadable cards for most of California’s Special Education Local Plan Areas. The information on the cards is based on data collected from behavioral emergency reports between the 2005-06 and 2011-12 school years.

Behavioral emergency incidents are situations involving a special education student in which an emergency intervention is used to protect the safety of the student, staff or others. These interventions include restraint, seclusion, or physical escorts to other locations.

Each card shows the name of the SELPA, the county it is in, and the trend of reported incidents per 100 students in that SELPA over time. It also shows you key data about the last year it was mandatory to collect this data: the 2011-12 school year. The key data includes the proportion of reported incidents from public schools, nonpublic schools and non-public agencies (the incident occurs when an outside consultant is treating a student on campus). The cards show the raw number of reported incidents and students during the 2011-12 school year, as well as the seven-year average of reported incidents per 100 students in that SELPA (SELPAs without seven years of data are averaged based on the number of years where data was collected).

The goal with these cards is to provide a snapshot of the data collected in that SELPA. It’s worth noting that it’s unclear whether SELPAs that report higher numbers of incidents are a result of greater use of restraint and seclusion, whether that SELPA has better reporting of these incidents, or a combination of the two. EdSource created cards for 126 SELPAs that existed during the 2011-12 school year (Los Angeles County Office of Education and Sonoma Charter were omitted as they contained no reported data) and one for California looking at the statewide numbers.

The search tool below allows you to search all the cards we have by either county or the name of the SELPA. Any questions regarding these cards or the data therein can be directed to the EdSource team.

SELPA Cards

To download the card, click on the link, then right click on the image and “save file as” to download.


Type in a SELPA or County Here:




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