10:00 AM, May 19, 2009
2175 Rayburn H.O.B.
May 19 U.S. House Hearings on Restraint and Seclusion in Schools
Congressman George Miller, Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, has announced that the Committee will hold hearings on the issue of restraints and seclusion in schools. The hearings will be 10:00 AM, May 19, 2009 in Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building. See "Examining the Abusive and Deadly Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Schools" for more information at this link:
The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA) recently released a report documenting over 140 incidents of restraint, seclusion, and abuse of children with disabilities by school programs, Unsafe In The Schoolhouse: Abuse Of Children With Disabilities. We received reports of children subject to prone restraints; injured by larger adults who restrained them; tied, taped and trapped in chairs and equipment; forced into locked seclusion rooms; made to endure pain, humiliation and deprived of basic necessities, and subjected to a variety of other abusive techniques.
Of the survey respondents, 71% had not consented to the use of aversive interventions; 16% had, but many believed the interventions would only be used in limited circumstances where there was an imminent threat of injury.. Moreover, 71% reported that the children in involved did not have a research-based positive behavioral intervention plans; 10% did (but parents often said that the plan was not followed). 84% of children restrained were under 14 years of age, with 53% aged 6-10.
The use of abusive interventions primarily occurred in segregated disability-only classrooms or in private seclusion rooms, away from the eyes of witnesses, with only 26% of the respondents reporting incidents in the regular classroom. Almost every disability category was represented: Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome (cited by 68% of the survey respondents), ADD/ADHD (27%); Developmental Delay, Emotional Disturbance, Intellectual Disability and Speech/Language Impairment (14%-20% of respondents); Specific Learning Disabilities (11%), and others. Many parents also indicated that their children had Down Syndrome, epilepsy, Tourette Syndrome and other specific conditions.
See http://www.copaa.org/news/unsafe.html for more information about COPAA's report.
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Government Relations Co-Chair (Congressional Affairs)
Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates, Inc. (COPAA)
A National Voice for Special Education Rights and Advocacy
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