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Saco superintendent says student restraint, seclusion has declined after federal review

The U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Office has completed its review of Saco Schools after a complaint alleging rampant use of restraint and seclusion on disabled students.

The federal report reveals that during the 2017 school year, the district had 247 incidents of restraint and seclusion. That number was reduced to 98 this past school year, according to Superintendent Jeremy Ray.

"From the special ed office to staff involved, they've tried to do everything they can to make things right and make a path for improvement, which they've done," he says. "We voluntarily worked with the Civil Rights Office with records release, data and those things, in an effort to make sure our staff improves and our practice improves."

Ray says a teacher that was involved in a large number of restraint incidents has been removed. The district has also added behavioral support staff, bolstered deescalation and safety training, revised protocols on the use of restraint and seclusion, and is working with the Saco Police Department and school resource officers to help students who are at risk of harming themselves or others.