WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Rocky Nichols has been a long time advocate for the disabled in Kansas, serving as the executive director for the Disability Rights Center of Kansas. He says he's disturbed by the details of a settlement agreement between Wichita Public Schools, and the U.S. Justice Department, saying district staff physically restrained or put disabled students alone in rooms as punishment.

"They weren't following it. They weren't following the requirements, which by the way, had been around since 2015," Nichols said. "It's not like this is a new law that just went into effect, you know, a couple of days ago or a year ago, this has been the law of the land in Kansas since 2015."

Although the agreement states that, "Most restraints… and all seclusions were improper…" superintendent Kelly Bielefeld said Tuesday the district was following state law.

"We've been following the guidelines from the state of Kansas, over the past few years, that lay out emergency safety intervention, you know, protocols and procedures and guidelines," Bielefeld said. "That's what we've been operating under."

Melissa Zieammermann, head of the districts new office on behavior management, tells KAKE News in a phone call that she couldn't comment on Bielefeld's assertion, and said seclusion and restraint are being phased out.

"We have some day schools setting where we will be allowed to continue to seclude kids in very extreme situations. Up through January 1. And then at that point, it will be prohibited throughout our entire district."

Nichols said that the most alarming detail of the settlement, was that 98% of the students restrained or secluded, were students with disabilities.

"That to me, shows that students with disabilities were targeted," Nichols said. "The other data in their information they released yesterday shows that black students were also being targeted as well. And, you know, I hope Wichita Public Schools is going to take this seriously."

Zieammermann said that if a case of seclusion or restraint comes up in the next year, her office will investigate those incidents on a case by case basis.