News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

April 3, 2013

Bill limiting seclusion, restraint to discipline students advances

INDIANAPOLIS — Legislation aimed at reducing the use of physical restraints and locked isolation rooms to discipline students continues to gain support in the General Assembly.

On Tuesday, the House education committee amended a Senate bill that requires public school districts to develop seclusion and restraint policies to include the state’s parochial and private schools as well.

The legislation, if passed, would require schools to have policies in place by the 2014-15 school year and would require schools to train staff in the appropriate use of restraint and seclusion techniques, especially when used on children with physical and mental disabilities.

Backed by parents of children with special needs, Senate Bill 345 would also require schools to document and report to both parents and the state when those restraint and seclusion techniques are used.

The bill’s author, Republican Sen. Randy Head of Logansport, said the bill doesn’t prevent teachers from disciplining students, but builds in protection for both teachers and students.

“We want safety for everybody,” Head said. “This bill protects everybody from getting hurt.”

The push for the legislation started last year, after the U.S. Department of Education released a study that found tens of thousands of students across the U.S. — most of them disabled — had been strapped down, physically restrained or locked into isolation rooms by teachers or school staff to keep order in their classrooms. In some cases, the techniques led to injury and death.

Head wanted the legislation to apply to all schools — public, charter and private — but some private and charter schools lobbied to have non-public schools excluded from the bill.

On Tuesday, the House education committee put back into the bill the requirement that all accredited schools in Indiana – public, charter and private – be covered by the legislation.

“I’m conservative when it comes to putting additional mandates on schools, but the concern here is too important,” said Republican state Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany, who wrote the amendment to cover all schools.  

“This is about protecting vulnerable children,” Clere said. “There is no reason why this should cause any undue burden or excessive use of resources.”

Currently, the Indiana Department of Education encourages local school corporations to develop their own policies on the use of restraints and isolation techniques. But there is no requirement to do so.

“It’s a patchwork approach,” Clere said.

The legislation would require the state to establish a commission that would develop a model policy that would be based on using locked isolation rooms and physical restraints as “last resort” techniques to keep students from harming themselves or others.

All schools would have to develop their own policies, using the commission’s model policy as a guide.

Though the legislation would cover all students — not just those with physical, mental or emotional disabilities — it has its strongest backing from organizations that advocate for children with special needs.

The U.S. Department of Education study released last year found that about 70 percent of the nearly 40,000 students who were restrained or isolated in seclusion rooms during the 2009-10 school year had learning, behavioral, physical or developmental needs.

The study also found that African-American and Hispanic students were also disproportionately isolated or restrained.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Raw: NH Man Held on $1M in Teen's Kidnapping 'The Bachelorette' and Her Beau Go Public Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Broken Water Main Floods UCLA "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH)
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity