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October 31, 2011

Restraint Bypassed on Bill

In 2010, legislation to amend the use of restraint and seclusion in schools fell through.  Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin wanted to focus on that topic in regards to the No Child Left Behind Law.  However, the issue of restraint and seclusion was bypassed when discussing the reimplementation of the law recently.

Harkin wants to include amendments on restraint and seclusion when discussing the law in the Senate.  He feels that too many students with physical/mental challenges have passed away due to restraint and seclusion.  He adds that staff members have developed physical, psychological, and emotional stress based on this practice.  Activists agree with Harkin’s viewpoint.

“It was disappointing that it wasn’t included in the base bill,” said Barb Trader, who’s been working for nearly two years to secure federal legislation that would limit the use of restraint and seclusion in schools as head of a coalition of 22 national disability groups known as APRAIS.

A series of reports have showcased the abusive and deadly uses of restraint and seclusion.  These reports have been authored by activists.   If these types of laws are passed regulating restraint and seclusion, it would signify the first time federal government would oversee this practice.  Presently, laws on restraint and seclusion are implemented by a series of state regulations.

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