- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

HOLYOKE, Mass. (AP) - A state report says there were “systemic failures” at a Holyoke school where special needs students were frequently restrained by staff.

The report about the Peck School released Tuesday by the state Department of Early and Secondary Education said students with emotional and behavioral problems were restrained more than 200 times last year.

The report said restraint was often not justified and the use of excessive restraint was blamed on poor training and lack of oversight. The public school serves students in fourth- through eighth-grade.

The report came out two months after a nonprofit advocacy group issued a report alleging abuse at the school.

The report does not identify staff by name.

Local and state education officials say the school has made “significant progress” this year under new leadership and management.

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