The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

February 14, 2013

Legislation would reduce use of restraints, isolation rooms in schools

INDIANAPOLIS — Advocates for children with special needs are backing legislation aimed at reducing the use of physical restraints and locked isolation rooms to discipline students.

The bill, authored by Republican state Sen. Randy Head of Logansport, would require all schools in Indiana to develop seclusion and restraint policies that meet certain standards and to train staff in their appropriate use.

Senate Bill 345 would also require schools to document and report to both parents and the state when those techniques are used.

The push for the legislation started last year, after the U.S. Department of Education released a study that found tens of thousands of students across the U.S. — most of them disabled — had been strapped down, physically restrained, or locked into isolation rooms by teachers or school staff to keep order in their classrooms. In some cases, the techniques led to injury and death.

Head wants the legislation to apply to all schools – public, charter and private – but some private and charter schools are lobbying to be excluded. His bill was scheduled for a committee hearing Tuesday but was postponed.

“No one should be able to put a kid in a sleeper hold or lock him in a closet, no matter where parents decide to place their kids,” Head said.

Though the legislation would cover all students — not just those with physical, mental or emotional disabilities — it has its strongest backing from organizations that advocate for children with special needs.

The U.S. Department of Education study released last year found that about 70 percent of the nearly 40,000 students who were restrained or isolated in seclusion rooms during the 2009-10 school year had learning, behavioral, physical or developmental needs. The study also found that African-American and Hispanic students were also disproportionately isolated or restrained.

Kim Dodson, assistant executive director of The Arc of Indiana, said Indiana has laws that cover the use of physical restraints and isolation rooms in state prisons, juvenile facilities, and nursing homes. But no law that sets the standards for when they can be used in school.

“Schools should be required to have a policy where every child, disabled or not, has the right to education and is treated with dignity and respect and a healthy and safe environment in which to learn,” Dodson said.

Dodson said the need for such legislation was made evident by an incident that occurred last week, when an 8-year-old child with Down Syndrome was sent from an Indianapolis area school with her shoes and socks duct-taped tightly to her ankles to prevent her from removing them. The child’s parents said the tape was wrapped so tightly that the child couldn’t walk and was placed in a wheelchair by school staff when she was sent home on a school bus.

Head’s bill would allow schools to develop their own policies as long as they meet certain standards spelled out in the legislation. Those standards include a requirement that school personnel be trained in the appropriate use of restraints and isolation rooms, and that those techniques be used as a last resort to keep a student from harming himself or others.

Currently, the Indiana Department of Education encourages local school corporations to develop their own policies on the use of restraints and isolation techniques. But there is no requirement to do so, leaving the state with a patchwork of policies and practices.

“It’s hard to write a law that plans for every circumstance and every teacher is going to tell you that things are unpredictable so we want each school corporation to come up with policies that will work,” said Head. “But we want those policies made public, we want parents to understand how they will be used, and we want to make sure they’re not going to harmful to a child.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • NWS - HB0728 - Colts Camp - 006 Armed Forces Day at Colts camp pairs Girl Scout cookies with veterans

    Pair Girl Scouts and their world-famous cookies with Armed Forces Day at Indianapolis Colts training camp, and you've got a winning combination. Operation: Cookie Drop, as it's called, is a program where customers buy boxes of cookies for delivery to active and retired military throughout central Indiana.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0728 - World War 1 Local Bob Quinn 2 World War I veteran instilled pride, patriotism John Robert Quinn didn't realize he had been hit by shrapnel until a buddy told him, "John, you've got blood all over your back." They were in southern France serving in a tank battalion alongside the British in World War I.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0728 - Gordon art Rain doesn't dampen Brickyard fans' spirits

    Despite threatening skies and chances of rain, fans at the Brickyard 400 were not disheartened by the forecast Sunday. Fans expected the race to be completed and were anticipating an exciting race for the Sprint Cup event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0728 - World War 1 local Nurse hoped for lasting peace after World War I Ella Hand’s grave marker in Elwood is simple and unadorned. A stone block, it marks that she was born Sept. 20, 1870, and died Oct. 28, 1937.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arrest Log: July 28 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 28, 2014

  • What's Where: July 28 Local meetings and activities are scheduled Monday, July 28.

    July 28, 2014

  • Markleville Jamboree begins July 31 Is your baby the prettiest? Does your pet do amazing tricks? Do you bake, sew, craft? Do you like tractors? If any of this sounds like you, you're invited to join in the contests at the Markleville Jamboree.

    July 28, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 27 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Friday and Saturday based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 27, 2014

  • SPT - HB0727 - Harvick art Harvick dominates qualifying SPEEDWAY — Kevin Harvick dominated the first ever knock-out qualifying for the Brickyard 400, easily capturing the pole position for Sunday’s race.Harvick in the Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet posted the quickest time in all three sessions and was the

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0727 - Markleville honor Another golden hour: Couple gives thanks to rescuers On Saturday, the Smalls attended the Adams Markleville fire department’s annual ice cream social to personally thank those they say are responsible for saving Steve’s life.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

July Staff Photos


Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook