I sent the following to the show:
January 30, 2009
I understand that Mr. Arne Duncan, the New Secretary of Education, is expected to appear on your show tonight. While I have numerous questions and concerns regarding the state of our education system, one concern that continues to fly under the radar is the abuse and mistreatment of students with disabilities in our schools. Everyday individuals with disabilities are being restrained and forced into seclusion ("time-out", "isolation", "safe", etc.) rooms, often for noncompliance issues and/or after being antagonized. When they are restrained, this quickly escalates any behavior because they are often frightened and/or do not understand what is happening to them. To many, their reactions often then "justify" the use of seclusion rooms.
It is easy to sit back and wait for the individuals to fail and then "justify" this abuse and mistreatment because the individual is perceived as "dangerous". But what about the choices that the educational system is refusing to make, such as providing adequate services, support, and accommodations to give these individuals a chance at being successful?
I do not believe a system's failure is justification to abuse or mistreat individuals, especially those with disabilities. What does Mr. Duncan think? More importantly, what does Mr. Duncan plan to do about it?
Missouri: Families Against Seclusion and Restraint
It's nonsensical to justify the use of abuse. It's common sense to prevent it.