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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

US House Bill on Seclusion and Restraint

AP reports:

Physically restraining unruly schoolchildren or locking them in isolated spaces would be subject to federal restrictions under legislation passed by the House Wednesday. Lawmakers were responding to reports that abuses of restraint and seclusion methods have resulted in children being injured and even killed.

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., said the federal government needed to step in because state laws were not always effective. He cited the 2002 case in Texas of a 129-pound, 14-year-old who died after his 230-pound teacher placed him facedown on the floor and lay on top of him.

The bill, which passed 262-153, sets guidelines that allow physical restraint or locked seclusion only when there is imminent danger of injury. It bans mechanical restraints such as strapping children to chairs or duct-taping body parts, and prohibits behavior-controlling medications that aren't prescribed by doctors

The bill is HR 4247.

Miller's release is here, along with links to the GAO report and other information.