Restraint and seclusion practices must end in schools outside of emergencies

Mar 1, 2016 by

Legislation puts Special Education Reform Task Force recommendations into action

LANSING, Mich. – All students deserve a safe, positive learning environment without fear of being restrained or secluded from their classmates, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said.

“It is unacceptable that restraint and seclusion practices are still underway in our schools,” Calley said. “We need to give children the support they need and stop using archaic methods to control behavior. These bills put a stop to these practices while encouraging the use of positive behavioral interventions and support to reduce difficult situations that arise.”

Calley today joined with a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House and Senate to announce a bill package that would restrict the use of restraint and seclusion practices in all schools to emergency situations.

“This legislation works to strike a balance between respecting the dignity of students and staff and ensuring their safety,” said Rep. Liberati, D-Allen Park, who is a father of a special needs child.  “In 2006, the State Board of Education set standards limiting the application of restraint and seclusion to emergency situations, but those standards don’t carry the weight of Michigan law. I’m proud that all members of the Disabilities Awareness Caucus and the members of the Special Education Reform Task Force introduced legislation to codify the practice of non-emergency and emergency restraint and seclusion into state law, which will improve outcomes for all involved.”

The legislation clarifies the appropriate course of intervention should an emergency situation arise. The Special Education Reform Task Force, chaired by Calley, recommended these reforms last month in their report to the Governor.

Sen. Margaret O’Brien of Portage pointed out the serious dangers that restraint and seclusion practices can cause:

“On August 25, 2003, a 15 year old boy named Michael died from prolonged physical restraint In Kalamazoo County on the first day of the school year. It should have been like any other day but instead a life ended,” O’Brien said.  “No one intended to harm a student which is why Kalamazoo now has a program to train all teachers in proper restraint and seclusion. Today, this legislation will ensure all teachers in Michigan get the same training. As a mother, I know how precious our children are and I want all Michigan children to be safe at school.”

Reforms within the 10 bill package, which will be introduced between the House and Senate today, also include:

  • Establishing a positive behavioral support system and intervention plan that would be adopted by all schools
  • Defining appropriate requirements for the use of seclusion and restraint methods in emergency situations and requires reporting of instances
  • Creating reporting requirements associated with the use of these practices
  • Creating best practices for data collection on incidents and school training requirements for emergencies
  • Requiring districts and intermediate school districts to create policies that align with the statewide plan.

The legislation has been referred to each chamber’s education committee for consideration. For more information on the additional recommendations of the Special Education Reform Task Force, visit Michigan.gov/calley.

Source: Snyder – Lt. Gov. Brian Calley: Restraint and seclusion practices must end in schools outside of emergencies

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