A federal bill that would for the first time regulate the use of restraint and seclusion on students in schools, and require any use of such practices to be reported to parents, has cleared a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Education and Labor Committee voted 34-10 last week to approve a law that would establish the first federal safety standards in schools for the use of restraint and seclusion, similar to rules in place in hospitals and nonmedical, community-based facilities. Regulations on the practices of restraint and seclusion vary from state to state.
With committee approval, the full House can now take up the “Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act.”
A report by the congressional Government Accountability Office last May found allegations that children had been abused, or even died, because of the misuse of restraint and seclusion in schools.
Many of the children on whom those practices are used are students with disabilities. The practices are intended to be used in emergencies when students are a danger to themselves or others. (“Study on Restraints and Seclusion Stirs Alarm,” June 10, 2009.)
A version of this article appeared in the February 10, 2010 edition of Education Week as House Panel OKs Bill On Restraint, Seclusion