How best to deal with special needs students who become disruptive was the subject of a sometimes contentious Capitol hearing Thursday. The authors of proposed legislation say existing guidelines are inadequate, and lawmakers heard disturbing testimony regarding students being locked alone in rooms, or injured in restraints. Jeff Spitzer-Reznick of Disability Rights Wisconsin said they’ve met with the state teachers’ union and other stakeholders, on how to address use of seclusion and restraint in schools. He said the state Department of Public Instruction hired a mediator to bring the two sides together. “They said ‘we want school safety.’ We said ‘we do, too. What are your ideas?’ And the answers were none. No ideas.”
“I want to tell you that’s not true,” Wisconsin Education Association Council President Mary Bell told the Senate Education Committee. “We participated in those discussions, and WEAC supports reasonable approaches to a safe environment.” Bell said WEAC supports additional training, and reporting incidents of isolation and restraint to parents, but that the legislation (SB 468) proposed by Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and Representative Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) goes “beyond that, to an inappropriate level.”
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