The U.S. Education Department is considering making restraint reporting mandatory for school districts nationwide, starting this school year.
Jim Bradshaw, a spokesman with the federal agency, said school districts may soon be required to track restraint and seclusion by race, gender, English proficiency and disability.
He said the department is also collecting restraint and seclusion policies from state education agencies, which they'll be making available to the public on the department's Web site.
The Education Department's move follows a July letter to state school officials, penned by Education Secretary Arne Duncan. In the letter, Duncan said he was "deeply troubled" by reports of "abusive and potentially deadly misapplication of restraint techniques in schools."
He asked states to review their restraint policies to improve guidelines, and to ensure children weren't restrained unless absolutely encessary. And he said 8,000 schools across the nation were already implementing behavioral alternatives to restraints, known in the teaching community as "positive behavioral supports."