Secluding students will no longer be allowed in Maryland's public schools under a law taking effect on Friday. Gov. Larry Hogan allowed the bill to become law without his signature in April, just months after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into Frederick County Public Schools found the district violated civil rights law with its use of restraint and seclusion on students with disabilities.
As of the 2018-19 school year, the last year of data available prior to the pandemic, Maryland public schools secluded students 9,532 times, according to the Maryland Department of Education. The law will only restrict seclusion in public, not private, schools. Seclusion in nonpublic schools will remain legal under tight rules, for example if performed by a trained physician, psychologist, clinical social worker, registered nurse, or clinical professional counselor.
Maryland joins other states with similar bans on seclusion of students, including Hawaii, Georgia, Florida and Nevada. Laws restricting restraint and seclusion vary significantly by state.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated where seclusion would remain legal under tight rules. The article has been updated to reflect that this is for nonpublic schools.