Jessica Butler, the congressional affairs coordinator for the Autism National Committee, has been tracking the issue since 2009. In 2012, she started publishing her findings in a report, "How Safe is the Schoolhouse? An Analysis of State Seclusion and Restraint Laws and Policies." Her latest effort was released this week.
When Butler started her work in 2009, nine states had what she deemed "meaningful" laws restricting the use of restraint and seclusion with all students, and 21 had such policies in place specifically for students with disabilities, who are far more likely to be restrained and secluded than their typically developing peers.
As of this report, 22 states have such protections for all students, and 34 provide such protections for students with disabilities. Butler uses "meaningful" to describe states with laws (as opposed to non-binding guidance) that prohibit the use of restraint and seclusion except to prevent injury to the student or others, or states that offer multiple protections against restraint and seclusion.