Death at School: Child Restraints Spark Controversy

Autistic, disabled kids pinned down, confined by school staff.
2:04 | 11/29/12

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Transcript for Death at School: Child Restraints Spark Controversy
picture at the heart of a new and growing controversy in american schools. This is a padded room, a photo spreading from washington state to parents around the country. They are called isolation rooms and they're used to restrain some children, including autistic ones. Abc's chief investigative correspondent brian ross brings us videotape, and we warn you, it's not always easy to watch. Reporter: This surveillance video shows high school student andre McCollins, in the lower right of the screen, about to go through what his school calls skin shock therapy for misbehavior. About 60 volts of therapy. There are no national standards for the punishments or restraints used on school children, including those like andre with behavior disabilities. Later tied spread eagle to a restraint board. No, no, no. Reporter: And what happened at this school outside boston, an extreme example, but entirely legal. Someday, I think we are all going to look back and say, "can you believe what we did here?" Reporter: An abc news investigation has found that only 17 states have specific laws protecting students from harsh treatments and restraints. Thousands and thousands of children that have been traumatized, that have been injured. Reporter: In arizona and washington state, parents are up in arms over padded isolation boxes or cells, where students have been left for long stretches. In kentucky, a mother found her autistic 8-year-old son had been stuffed into a duffel bag like this one specially made to restrain children. They held me, like -- Reporter: In pennsylvania, a group of students with behavioral issues described to abc news how they had been tied up or manhandled at previous schools. Did it hurt? It really did hurt. Reporter:11-year-old jordan described being locked up in one of those isolation boxes. It's scary. Really scary. Even for the bravest person in the world, it's still really scary. Reporter: And even worse, there have been dozens of deaths of students being restrained by teachers of staff, often untrained or unaware of safe procedures.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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