Congress To Address Abusive Restraint And Seclusion In Schools
(Updated: December 8, 2009 at 11:23 AM CT)
Lawmakers are expected to introduce legislation Wednesday intended to curb abusive restraint and seclusion practices in the nation’s schools.
The move follows a government report released in May which documented hundreds of cases of students subjected to allegedly abusive or deadly practices under the guise of restraint and seclusion. Most of the cases involved children with disabilities.
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The report drew concern from the president, the secretary of education and members of Congress who pledged action.
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who requested the report from the Government Accountability Office, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., are planning to introduce legislation to regulate the disciplinary procedures Wednesday in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is expected to introduce similar legislation in the Senate.
The practices documented in the government report included instances of teachers holding students face down, gagging them, leaving them in dark, closet-like spaces for hours at a time and preventing students from using the bathroom, among other allegations.
State regulations on restraint and seclusion vary wildly and some states have no policy at all. Currently, there are no federal regulations overseeing restraint and seclusion in schools.