A number of posts here have dealt with restraint and seclusion in schools, as well as proposals to curb these practices. On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on the subject. (See the notice of the hearing, where Senator Harkin mentioned the "therapy bag" incident.) At Education Week, Nirvi Shah wrote:
Today's hearing concentrated on how schools and students have and can avoid using restraints and seclusion and address the behavior that may have triggered those techniques to be employed in the first place. (That's some of what I wrote about in this story previewing the hearing.)
While the hearing's witnesses favored a federal law that would crack down on the use of restraint and seclusion—Sen. Harkin has sponsored this bill that would do just that, as would a similar bill sponsored by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., in the House—support for a law is far from universal.
The American Association of School Administrators opposes a federal law, and says school administrators must be able to restrain and seclude students. The organization outlines its position in this report, out this week. The Autism National Committee came out with a rebuttal of that report this morning.
And while a previous Miller bill passed the House when Democrats ruled that chamber, his current bill hasn't had a hearing.
House education committee chair John Kline, R-Minn., is concerned that federal intervention could obstruct state efforts to regulate the practices—several states have passed their own laws governing the use of restraints and seclusion—and federal action could thus do more harm than good.