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Thank You: SB445

Missouri, 2/26/09

Senator Rupp and Senator Schmitt,

Thank you so much for meeting with me on Wednesday 2/25/09 regarding Senate Bill 445 and the abuse and misuse of seclusion rooms and restraint happening in our schools. I was thankful to have the opportunity to share our family's story as well as communicate situations that are occurring, which other families and school staff are too afraid to bring forward.

As I stated in the meeting I have two concerns regarding SB445 as it is currently proposed: 1) many times seclusion rooms are not mechanically locked, but the doors can be blocked/held shut by person(s) and 2) banning seclusion rooms without replacing them with other positive and evidence-based methods could lead to further issues.

Also, please note the following, as addressed in the materials shared with you on Wednesday:
• at no time, should prone restraints be used.
• limited restraints should only be used as a last resort when a child or others are in immediate danger.
• the use of seclusion rooms should be banned.
• students exhibiting challenging behavior are trying to communicate that something is wrong.
• school personnel need the tools to effectively implement evidence based practices to include the use of positive behavior supports.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to assist you in moving forward with this legislation. I greatly appreciate Senator Rupp bringing this legislation forward and forcing this seclusion and restraint issue out into the open so that it doesn't continue percolating beneath layers of system failure. I, for one, do not believe a system's failure is justification to abuse or mistreat individuals, especially those with disabilities.

Ange Hemmer
Missouri: Families Against Seclusion and Restraint

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