Committee on Children
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING SECLUSION AND RESTRAINT IN SCHOOLS.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Committee on Children
REASONS FOR BILL:
Reduce the risk of injury, and trauma that results from the inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion on school children.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Sarah Eagan, Office of the Child Advocate: Testified this bill would begin to reduce the unnecessary use of restraint and seclusion on school children. In the last three years more than 1,300 incidents of injury sustained to children during restraint or seclusion have been reported by the State Department of Education. Restraint and seclusion have not been shown to be effective interventions but rather increase the risk of injury to staff and traumatize children.
Craig Henrici, Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities: This office receives hundreds of requests for assistance per year from parents of special education students being subjected to restraint and seclusion. Based in practices and believes that physically controlling a child will change challenging behavior restraint and seclusion have been shown to harm both the children and the educators involved while not showing any mediating effect on challenging behaviors. Recommend eliminating the use of seclusion in IEPs in existing statue C.G.S Sec. 10-76.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Carolyn Goodridge, CT Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents: Testifies that foster children who have suffered trauma are highly represented in the children who suffer restraint and seclusion in schools. For children who have experienced abuse and trauma including being locked in small spaces the practice of restraint and seclusion increase trauma. De-escalation methods are less harmful and more effective.
Edie Joseph, CT Voices for Children: Cites the U.S. Department of Education finding that “restraint and seclusion can physically and emotionally harm children- traumatizing and scaring them, and even worsening the behaviors that practitioners are seeking to reduce”.
Susan Kelley, National Alliance on Mental Illness: Calls attention to Plainville Public Schools as an example of successful reduction of the use of restraint and seclusion through the use of an evidence based strategies called Six Core Strategies, with which they reduced incidents of restraint from 120 to 22 in two years.
James D. McGaughey: Notes benefits of this bill including the prohibition of prone restraints which restricts the movement of the rib cage and diaphragm making breathing difficult. Also time restrictions will help prevent over use and ensure that emergency use of these methods is terminated as soon as the crisis is adverted.
Stephen McKeever, AFT Connecticut, AFL-CIO: Expressed concerns over the time limit and its effect on students who have seclusion written into their IEPs. While supporting the bill generally it is argued that these determinations should be left to the professionals directly dealing with children.
Kathryn Scheinberg Meyer, Center for Children's Advocacy: Highlights the fact that male students of color with autism spectrum disorder or emotional disturbances are most frequently restrained and secluded. Tells the story of a student she represented who was repeatedly restrained for long periods of time, coming home with marks and bruising, being anxious and distrustful of school, exacerbation of existing PTSD and eventually resulting in his having to be relocated to a private therapeutic setting.
Ann R. Smith, African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities, Inc.: This group receives numerous requests for advocacy from parents whose children are being subjected to restraint and seclusion. Testimony points to Massachusetts and Ohio as examples for statewide reduction of restraint and seclusion use.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Cathy Lapierre, AFT – CT: – Without restraint as a tool public schools will not be able to handle students who are actively psychotic. Outplacement for these students would cost $60,000 annually per student.
Reported by: Alessandra Burgett, Clerk