Bipartisan Initiative to Prevent Child Abuse Moves to House Floor
Washington, DC – The House Education and Labor Committee favorably reported legislation introduced by Chairman George Miller (D-CA) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) to make classrooms safer for students and school staff by preventing the misuse of restraint and seclusion. The Committee passed the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act (H.R. 4227) by a vote of 34 to 10.
“I’m pleased that H.R. 4247, the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act, was reported out of Committee today,” said Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers. “This is a victory for students, parents, families, educators, and advocates who have worked tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of children in schools.”
“When I send my son Cole to school, I send him with the expectation that he is safe from danger. Yet, there have been hundreds of cases in which schoolchildren were harmed as a result of inappropriate uses of restraint and seclusion. Our bill is a long stride forward in ensuring that our tax dollars are not used to abuse children. I look forward to working with Chairman Miller and my colleagues to pass this bill through Congress this year, and have it signed into law.”
The Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act will, for the first time, put in place minimum safety standards to prevent abusive restraint and seclusion in schools across the country, similar to protections already in place in medical and community based facilities. After two years, states will need to have their own policies in place to meet these minimum standards. It would apply to schools that receive federal education support. Specifically the legislation would:
· Limit physical restraint and locked seclusion, allowing these interventions only when there is imminent danger of injury;
· Require schools to notify parents after incidents when restraint or seclusion was used;
· Encourage states to provide support and training to better protect students and prevent the need for emergency behavioral interventions; and
· Increase transparency, oversight and enforcement tools to prevent future abuse.