I’ve been following the Keeping All Students Safe Act, an important piece of legislation for keeping disabled students safe in school. I’m horrified to learn that the Senate version of the bill, S. 3895, actually includes measures allowing for restraint and seclusion, which I missed when I posted about it earlier this year. (Mea culpa!)
“COPAA cannot support the current legislation because S.3895 permits restraint and locked seclusion as planned interventions in students’ education plans, including behavior plans and individualized education programs,” wrote the group’s executive director Denise Marshall. “By allowing restraint and locked seclusion as planned interventions, S.3895 weakens protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and legitimizes practices that the bill seeks to prevent.” (source)
If you are a USian with the time, please write your Senators and ask them to remove this portion of the bill. Restraint and locked seclusion are never appropriate for students and they most certainly do not belong in individualised education programmes. It’s time to take abuse off the table when it comes to options for disciplining students!
On September 29th, 2010, Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced bipartisan legislation to establish federal minimum standards to limit the use of restraint and seclusion in schools.
The Keeping All Students Safe Act (S. 3895) is the Senate companion to H.R. 4247, passed with overwhelming support by the House of Representatives on March 3, 2010, and is a modified version of the previously-introduced Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act (S. 2860). This bipartisan bill contains strong protections against the use of restraint and seclusion in schools, as well as a number of investments in preventive techniques and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. There is still a chance this bill could passage in the lame duck session if it receives more bipartisan support.
At the link, a letter you can send your Senators!
Inappropriate seclusion and restraint are weaponised against students across the United States every day in a variety of settings. It’s time for tougher regulations on handling of disabled students, with a focus on preventing escalation of situations to the point where educators think restraint is ‘necessary.’