Educators say that sometimes they need to restrain students who threaten themselves or one another in order to keep everyone safe, but advocates say schools are increasingly overusing such techniques, especially for students with special needs. Since 2001, Massachusetts schools have reported 900 instances of restraining students that led to injury or were lengthy; Marcia Mittnacht, the state's special-education director, says investigations have only rarely uncovered cases where restraints were not appropriate.

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