Wisconsin Senate approves new student restraint guidelines

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Senate passed a bill Tuesday supported by disability rights advocates and parents that would establish more procedures for when schools restrain a student or place them in seclusion.

The disability rights community advocated for improvements to the law after a 2014 study found that 80% of the students placed in restraints or in seclusion have a disability. The existing law, passed in 2011, only allows for a student to be physically restrained if they pose an imminent risk to others' safety.

The bill passed Tuesday would change how such incidents are reported and tracked. Under the proposal, the state Department of Public Instruction would be required to track the incidences and schools would have to inform parents if their student were ever secluded or restrained. The measure also requires additional training for school staff on how to calm students before they become violent.

The measure has bipartisan support. It cleared the Senate on a voice vote with no debate. It still must pass the state Assembly and be signed by Gov. Tony Evers before becoming law.

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