Restraint and Seclusion bill back in the Senate

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) introduced the “Keeping All Students Safe Act” on December 16, the latest Congressional attempt to restrict restraint and seclusion methods of controlling children with disabilities in schools nationwide.

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin
U.S. Senator Tom Harkin

“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,” Sen. Harkin said in a statement. “They should never be subjected to abusive or violent disciplinary strategies or left alone and unsupervised.

“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.”

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) introduced a similar bill in April. A similar bill passed in 2010, but stalled in the Senate.

Sen. Harkin said that groups supporting his bill include the National Disabilities Rights Network, the ARC, United Cerebral PalsyCouncil of Parent and Attorney Advocates and Easter Seals, according to an article in Education Week.

“A year has gone by since Congress failed to pass restraint and seclusion legislation,” said Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, in a news release. “Our network continues to investigate instances in which kids as young as 5 years old have been confined, tied up, pinned down, and battered through the use of restraint and seclusion.

Earlier this year, TASH released a report, titled “The Cost of Waiting,” documenting a variety of instances of excessive use of restraint and seclusion methods in schools nationwide.

DisAbility Rights Washington, the sponsor of DisAbility Rights Galaxy, is part of the federally funded protection and advocacy system and a member of the National Disability Rights Network.