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Wisconsin Legislative Proposal Would Limit Use of Restraints and Seclusion Rooms in Schools

Wisconsin, January 28, 2010
Two bills for regulating the use of restraints and seclusion rooms in Wisconsin schools have been introduced in the legislature.

The Senate and Assembly education committees are reviewing their respective versions of the bills. Both would prohibit isolating and locking away an unruly student. Faculty and staff would also be trained in early intervention techniques, similar to training used by Milwaukee police officers in calming down agitated people in potentially violent situations.

Representative Sandy Pasch drafted the Assembly version of the bill. She says there have been cases where children with mental health issues have been injured or traumatized by educators sitting on them, tying them up, or putting them alone in a room for hours at a time. Pasch says there’s been no intent to harm a student, but many schools don’t know how to handle a child’s behavior, and children can be harmed. She says the bills aren’t an attempt to take away a teacher’s ability to protect themselves, but rather change the way they intervene, so no one gets hurt.

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