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January 4, 2012

Activism for Restraint, Seclusion Safety

Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin created a bill in December that would end unsafe practices of restraint and seclusion in schools.  This bill was written after most incidents of restraint were harmful or deadly.  A majority of the students involved in restraint had physical/mental challenges.
“Every child should be educated in a supportive, caring, stimulating environment in which they are treated as an individual and provided with the tools they need to succeed,” Harkin said in a statement. “This bill will set long-overdue standards to protect children from physical and psychological harm and ensure a safe learning environment for teachers and students alike.”

This bill would state that children with physical/mental challenges couldn’t be locked in unsupervised areas.  Staff wouldn’t be allowed to use any form of mechanical or chemical restraints.  Restraint methods would also be excluded from the child’s Individualized Education Program and only used in emergency circumstances.

Harkin’s bill faces many obstacles in order to be passed.   The bill is receiving opposing viewpoints from the American Association of Administrators.  They state that the bill sets methods that are too high when controlling restraint and seclusion.

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