Restraint And Seclusion Mandate Advances In Senate - Disability Scoop

Restraint And Seclusion Mandate Advances In Senate - Disability Scoop

A plan to rewrite the nation’s primary education law is set to go
before the U.S. Senate and it now includes a provision related to
restraint and seclusion in schools.

The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
unanimously approved a bill Thursday to reauthorize the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act. The bill now heads to the full Senate where it
is expected to be considered this spring.

Tucked in the bill is an amendment requiring states to put policies
in place to prevent “any physical restraint or seclusion imposed solely
for purposes of discipline or convenience.” While many states already
have policies on the issue, not all do,
and federal efforts to regulate the practices — which research shows
disproportionately affect students with disabilities — have stagnated. (Read all of Disability Scoop’s coverage of restraint and seclusion »)

“The facts tell us that locking kids up in padded rooms and limiting
their movement with tape or rope hurts our children instead of helping
them,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who proposed the amendment.
“Instead of using these ineffective methods to change a child’s
behavior, we should be developing support services for schools and
educators that care for kids in a compassionate way, and I’m relieved
that my colleagues agree. This is a big step forward towards improvement
and accountability in our schools, and will ensure that all students
receive the positive support they need to reach their full potential.”

Beyond restraint and seclusion, the legislation headed to the full Senate retains limits
on the number of students with disabilities taking alternate
assessments, a move widely supported by disability advocacy groups.

Under the rule, students with severe cognitive disabilities can take
alternate assessments instead of the grade-level exams mandated for most
children. However, only 1 percent of all students — or about 10 percent
of those with disabilities — may be counted as proficient by schools
for taking alternate exams.

Separately, the measure would also continue to require that annual
data collection tracking student progress include figures specific to
students with disabilities.

The bipartisan bill under consideration in the Senate would replace
the law currently known as No Child Left Behind, which expired in 2007.


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