With all the challenges facing Wisconsin schools, one issue has flown under the radar: seclusion and restraint. They are controversial methods of reacting to student behavior only to be used as a “last resort,” but they happen all the time.

MADISON, Wis. — With all the challenges facing Wisconsin schools, one issue has flown under the radar: seclusion and restraint. They are controversial methods of reacting to student behavior only to be used as a “last resort,” but they happen all the time.

New data from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction reports 4,949 incidents of restraint and 4,314 incidents of seclusion in 2021. More than 80% of incidents involved students with disabilities, up a few percentage points from 2020.