Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Substitute Bill No. 927

January Session, 2015

 

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AN ACT CONCERNING SECLUSION AND RESTRAINT IN SCHOOLS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2015) (a) For purposes of this section:

(1) "Life-threatening physical restraint" means any physical restraint or hold of a student that restricts the flow of air into a student's lungs, whether by chest compression or any other means;

(2) "Physical restraint" means any mechanical or personal restriction that immobilizes or reduces the free movement of a student's arms, legs or head. The term does not include: (A) Briefly holding a student in order to calm or comfort the student; (B) restraint involving the minimum contact necessary to safely escort a student from one area to another; (C) medical devices, including, but not limited to, supports prescribed by a health care provider to achieve proper body position or balance; (D) helmets or other protective gear used to protect a person from injuries due to a fall; or (E) helmets, mitts and similar devices used to prevent self injury when the device is part of a documented treatment plan or individualized education program pursuant to section 10-76d of the general statutes, as amended by this act, and is the least restrictive means available to prevent such self-injury;

(3) "Prone physical restraint" means any physical restraint that immobilizes or reduces the free movement of a student's arms, legs or head while the student is in the prone position;

(4) "School employee" means (A) a teacher, substitute teacher, school administrator, school superintendent, guidance counselor, psychologist, social worker, nurse, physician, school paraprofessional or coach employed by a local or regional board of education or working in a public elementary, middle or high school; or (B) any other individual who, in the performance of his or her duties, has regular contact with students and who provides services to or on behalf of students enrolled in a public elementary, middle or high school, pursuant to a contract with the local or regional board of education; and

(5) "Seclusion" means the involuntary confinement of a student in a room, whether alone or with supervision, in a manner that prevents the student from leaving.

(b) No school employee shall use a physical restraint on a student except as an emergency intervention to prevent immediate or imminent injury to the student or to others, provided the restraint is not used for discipline or convenience and is not used as a substitute for a less restrictive alternative physical restraint on a student.

(c) No school employee shall use a prone physical restraint or a life-threatening physical restraint on a student. This section shall not be construed as limiting any defense to criminal prosecution for the use of deadly physical force that may be available under sections 53a-18 to 53a-22, inclusive, of the general statutes.

(d) No school employee shall place a student in seclusion except as an emergency intervention to prevent immediate or imminent injury to the student or to others, provided the seclusion is not used for discipline or convenience and is not used as a substitute for a less restrictive alternative.

(e) Any instance of physical restraint or seclusion of a student otherwise permissible under subsections (b) and (d) of this section shall not exceed the lesser of fifteen minutes or one minute per age of the student.

(f) No school employee shall use a physical restraint on a student or place a student in seclusion unless such school employee has received in-service training on the proper means for performing such physical restraint or seclusion pursuant to section 10-220a of the general statutes, as amended by this act.

(g) Each local or regional board of education shall notify a parent or guardian of a child who is placed in physical restraint or seclusion not later than twenty-four hours after the child was placed in physical restraint or seclusion and shall make a reasonable effort to provide such notification immediately after such physical restraint or seclusion.

Sec. 2. Section 10-220a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2015):

(a) Each local or regional board of education shall provide an in-service training program for its teachers, administrators and pupil personnel who hold the initial educator, provisional educator or professional educator certificate. Such program shall provide such teachers, administrators and pupil personnel with information on (1) the nature and the relationship of drugs, as defined in subdivision (17) of section 21a-240, and alcohol to health and personality development, and procedures for discouraging their abuse, (2) health and mental health risk reduction education which includes, but need not be limited to, the prevention of risk-taking behavior by children and the relationship of such behavior to substance abuse, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV-infection and AIDS, as defined in section 19a-581, violence, teen dating violence, domestic violence, child abuse and youth suicide, (3) the growth and development of exceptional children, including handicapped and gifted and talented children and children who may require special education, including, but not limited to, children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or learning disabilities, and methods for identifying, planning for and working effectively with special needs children in a regular classroom, including, but not limited to, implementation of student individualized education programs, (4) school violence prevention [,] and conflict resolution, including the appropriate use of physical restraint, seclusion and other deescalation techniques, the prevention of and response to youth suicide and the identification and prevention of and response to bullying, as defined in subsection (a) of section 10-222d, except that those boards of education that implement any evidence-based model approach that is approved by the Department of Education and is consistent with subsection (d) of section 10-145a, sections 10-222d, 10-222g and 10-222h, subsection (g) of section 10-233c and sections 1 and 3 of public act 08-160, shall not be required to provide in-service training on the identification and prevention of and response to bullying, (5) cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other emergency life saving procedures, (6) computer and other information technology as applied to student learning and classroom instruction, communications and data management, (7) the teaching of the language arts, reading and reading readiness for teachers in grades kindergarten to three, inclusive, (8) second language acquisition in districts required to provide a program of bilingual education pursuant to section 10-17f, (9) the requirements and obligations of a mandated reporter, and (10) the teacher evaluation and support program adopted pursuant to subsection (b) of section 10-151b. Each local and regional board of education may allow any paraprofessional or noncertified employee to participate, on a voluntary basis, in any in-service training program provided pursuant to this section. The State Board of Education, within available appropriations and utilizing available materials, shall assist and encourage local and regional boards of education to include: (A) Holocaust and genocide education and awareness; (B) the historical events surrounding the Great Famine in Ireland; (C) African-American history; (D) Puerto Rican history; (E) Native American history; (F) personal financial management; (G) domestic violence and teen dating violence; (H) mental health first aid training; and (I) topics approved by the state board upon the request of local or regional boards of education as part of in-service training programs pursuant to this subsection.

(b) Not later than a date prescribed by the commissioner, each local and regional board of education shall establish a professional development and evaluation committee consisting of certified employees, and such other school personnel as the board deems appropriate, including representatives selected by the exclusive bargaining representative for such employees chosen pursuant to subsection (b) of section 10-153. The duties of such committees shall include, but not be limited to, participation in the development or adoption of a teacher evaluation and support program for the district, pursuant to section 10-151b, and the development, evaluation and annual updating of a comprehensive local professional development plan for certified employees of the district. Such plan shall: (1) Be directly related to the educational goals prepared by the local or regional board of education pursuant to subsection (b) of section 10-220, (2) on and after July 1, 2011, be developed with full consideration of the priorities and needs related to student outcomes as determined by the State Board of Education, and (3) provide for the ongoing and systematic assessment and improvement of both teacher evaluation and professional development of the professional staff members of each such board, including personnel management and evaluation training or experience for administrators, shall be related to regular and special student needs and may include provisions concerning career incentives and parent involvement. The State Board of Education shall develop guidelines to assist local and regional boards of education in determining the objectives of the plans and in coordinating staff development activities with student needs and school programs.

(c) The Department of Education, in cooperation with one or more regional educational service centers, is authorized to provide institutes annually for Connecticut educators. Such institutes shall serve as model programs of professional development and shall be taught by exemplary Connecticut teachers and administrators and by other qualified individuals as selected by the Department of Education. The Department of Education shall charge fees for attending such institutes provided such fees shall be based on the actual cost of such institutes.

(d) The Department of Education may fund, within available appropriations, in cooperation with one or more regional educational service centers: (1) A cooperating teacher program to train Connecticut public school teachers, certified teachers at private special education facilities approved by the Commissioner of Education, certified teachers at nonpublic schools approved by the commissioner and certified teachers at other facilities designated by the commissioner, who participate in the supervision, training and evaluation of student teachers, provided such certified teachers at nonpublic schools pay for the cost of participation in such cooperating teacher program and provided further that enrollment in such program shall first be made available to public school teachers; and (2) institutes to provide professional development for Connecticut public school educators and cooperating teachers, including institutes to provide professional development for Connecticut public school educators offered in cooperation with the Connecticut Humanities Council. Funds available under this subsection shall be paid directly to school districts for the provision of substitute teachers when cooperating teachers are released from regular classroom responsibilities and for the provision of professional development activities for cooperating and student teachers, except that such funds shall not be paid to nonpublic schools for such professional development activities. The cooperating teacher program shall operate in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Board of Education in accordance with chapter 54, except in cases of placement in other countries pursuant to written cooperative agreements between Connecticut institutions of higher education and institutions of higher education in other countries. A Connecticut institution may enter such an agreement only if the State Board of Education and the Board of Regents for Higher Education have jointly approved the institution's teacher preparation program to enter into such agreements. Student teachers shall be placed with trained cooperating teachers. Cooperating teachers who are Connecticut public school teachers shall be selected by local and regional boards of education. Cooperating teachers at such private special education facilities, nonpublic schools and other designated facilities shall be selected by the authority responsible for the operation of such facilities. If a board of education is unable to identify a sufficient number of individuals to serve in such positions, the commissioner may select qualified persons who are not employed by the board of education to serve in such positions. Such regulations shall require primary consideration of teachers' classroom experience and recognized success as educators. The provisions of sections 10-153a to 10-153n, inclusive, shall not be applicable to the selection, placement and compensation of persons participating in the cooperating teacher program pursuant to the provisions of this section and to the hours and duties of such persons. The State Board of Education shall protect and save harmless, in accordance with the provisions of section 10-235, any cooperating teacher while serving in such capacity.

Sec. 3. Section 10-76b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2015):

(a) The State Board of Education shall provide for the development and supervision of the educational programs and services for children requiring special education and may regulate curriculum, conditions of instruction, including the use of physical restraint and seclusion pursuant to chapter 814e and section 1 of this act, physical facilities and equipment, class composition and size, admission of students, and the requirements respecting necessary special services and instruction to be provided by local and regional boards of education. The State Board of Education shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, concerning the use of physical restraint and seclusion pursuant to chapter 814e and section 1 of this act. The educational aspects of all programs and instructional facilities in any day or residential child-caring agency or school which provides training for children requiring special education and which receives funding from the state under the provisions of sections 10-76a to 10-76g, inclusive, shall be subject to the approval and supervision of the commissioner in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Board of Education concerning requirements for such programs and accommodations.

(b) The commissioner shall designate by regulation, subject to the approval of the State Board of Education, the procedures which shall be used to identify exceptional children.

(c) Said board shall be the agency for cooperation and consultation with federal agencies, other state agencies and private bodies on matters of public school education of children requiring special education, provided the full responsibilities for other aspects of the care of such children shall be reserved to such other agencies.

Sec. 4. Subsection (a) of section 10-76d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2015):

(a) (1) In accordance with the regulations and procedures established by the Commissioner of Education and approved by the State Board of Education, each local or regional board of education shall provide the professional services requisite to identification of children requiring special education, identify each such child within its jurisdiction, determine the eligibility of such children for special education pursuant to sections 10-76a to 10-76h, inclusive, prescribe appropriate educational programs for eligible children, maintain a record thereof and make such reports as the commissioner may require. No child may be required to obtain a prescription for a substance covered by the Controlled Substances Act, 21 USC 801 et seq., as amended from time to time, as a condition of attending school, receiving an evaluation under section 10-76ff or receiving services pursuant to sections 10-76a to 10-76h, inclusive, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 USC 1400 et seq., as amended from time to time.

(2) Any local or regional board of education, through the planning and placement team established in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Board of Education under this section, may determine a child's Medicaid enrollment status. In determining Medicaid enrollment status, the planning and placement team shall: (A) Inquire of the parents or guardians of each such child whether the child is enrolled in or may be eligible for Medicaid; and (B) if the child may be eligible for Medicaid, request that the parent or guardian of the child apply for Medicaid. For the purpose of determining Medicaid rates for Medicaid eligible special education and related services based on a representative cost sampling method, the board of education shall make available documentation of the provision and costs of Medicaid eligible special education and related services for any students receiving such services, regardless of an individual student's Medicaid enrollment status, to the Commissioner of Social Services or to the commissioner's authorized agent at such time and in such manner as prescribed. For the purpose of determining Medicaid rates for Medicaid eligible special education and related services based on an actual cost method, the local or regional board of education shall submit documentation of the costs and utilization of Medicaid eligible special education and related services for all students receiving such services to the Commissioner of Social Services or to the commissioner's authorized agent at such time and in such manner as prescribed. The commissioner or such agent may use information received from local or regional boards of education for the purposes of (i) ascertaining students' Medicaid eligibility status, (ii) submitting Medicaid claims, (iii) complying with state and federal audit requirements and (iv) determining Medicaid rates for Medicaid eligible special education and related services. No child shall be denied special education and related services in the event the parent or guardian refuses to apply for Medicaid.

(3) Beginning with the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004, the Commissioner of Social Services shall make grant payments to local or regional boards of education in amounts representing fifty per cent of the federal portion of Medicaid claims processed for Medicaid eligible special education and related services provided to Medicaid eligible students in the school district. Beginning with the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, the commissioner shall exclude any enhanced federal medical assistance percentages in calculating the federal portion of such Medicaid claims processed. Such grant payments shall be made on at least a quarterly basis and may represent estimates of amounts due to local or regional boards of education. Any grant payments made on an estimated basis, including payments made by the Department of Education for the fiscal years prior to the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, shall be subsequently reconciled to grant amounts due based upon filed and accepted Medicaid claims and Medicaid rates. If, upon review, it is determined that a grant payment or portion of a grant payment was made for ineligible or disallowed Medicaid claims, the local or regional board of education shall reimburse the Department of Social Services for any grant payment amount received based upon ineligible or disallowed Medicaid claims.

(4) Pursuant to federal law, the Commissioner of Social Services, as the state's Medicaid agent, shall determine rates for Medicaid eligible special education and related services pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection. The Commissioner of Social Services may request and the Commissioner of Education and towns and regional school districts shall provide information as may be necessary to set such rates.

(5) Based on school district special education and related services expenditures, the state's Medicaid agent shall report and certify to the federal Medicaid authority the state match required by federal law to obtain Medicaid reimbursement of eligible special education and related services costs.

(6) Payments received pursuant to this section shall be paid to the local or regional board of education which has incurred such costs in addition to the funds appropriated by the town to such board for the current fiscal year.

(7) The planning and placement team shall, in accordance with the provisions of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, 20 USC 1400, et seq., as amended from time to time, develop and update annually a statement of transition service needs for each child requiring special education.

(8) (A) Each local and regional board of education responsible for providing special education and related services to a child or pupil shall notify the parent or guardian of a child who requires or who may require special education, a pupil if such pupil is an emancipated minor or eighteen years of age or older who requires or who may require special education or a surrogate parent appointed pursuant to section 10-94g, in writing, at least five school days before such board proposes to, or refuses to, initiate or change the child's or pupil's identification, evaluation or educational placement or the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child or pupil.

(B) Upon request by a parent, guardian, pupil or surrogate parent, the responsible local or regional board of education shall provide such parent, guardian, pupil or surrogate parent an opportunity to meet with a member of the planning and placement team designated by such board prior to the referral planning and placement team meeting at which the assessments and evaluations of the child or pupil who requires or may require special education is presented to such parent, guardian, pupil or surrogate parent for the first time. Such meeting shall be for the sole purpose of discussing the planning and placement team process and any concerns such parent, guardian, pupil or surrogate parent has regarding the child or pupil who requires or may require special education.

(C) Such parent, guardian, pupil or surrogate parent shall be given at least five school days' prior notice of any planning and placement team meeting conducted for such child or pupil and shall have the right to be present at and participate in and to have advisors of such person's own choosing and at such person's own expense to be present at and to participate in all portions of such meeting at which an educational program for such child or pupil is developed, reviewed or revised.

(D) Immediately upon the formal identification of any child as a child requiring special education and at each planning and placement team meeting for such child, the responsible local or regional board of education shall inform the parent or guardian of such child or surrogate parent or, in the case of a pupil who is an emancipated minor or eighteen years of age or older, the pupil of (i) the laws relating to special education, (ii) the rights of such parent, guardian, surrogate parent or pupil under such laws and the regulations adopted by the State Board of Education relating to special education, including the right of a parent, guardian or surrogate parent to withhold from enrolling such child in kindergarten, in accordance with the provisions of section 10-184, and (iii) any relevant information and resources relating to individualized education programs created by the Department of Education. If such parent, guardian, surrogate parent or pupil does not attend a planning and placement team meeting, the responsible local or regional board of education shall mail such information to such person.

(E) Each local and regional board of education shall have in effect at the beginning of each school year an educational program for each child or pupil who has been identified as eligible for special education.

(F) At each initial planning and placement team meeting for a child or pupil, the responsible local or regional board of education shall inform the parent, guardian, surrogate parent or pupil of the laws relating to physical restraint and seclusion pursuant to chapter 814e and section 1 of this act and the rights of such parent, guardian, surrogate parent or pupil under such laws and the regulations adopted by the State Board of Education relating to physical restraint and seclusion.

(G) Upon request by a parent, guardian, pupil or surrogate parent, the responsible local or regional board of education shall provide the results of the assessments and evaluations used in the determination of eligibility for special education for a child or pupil to such parent, guardian, surrogate parent or pupil at least three school days before the referral planning and placement team meeting at which such results of the assessments and evaluations will be discussed for the first time.

(9) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, for purposes of Medicaid reimbursement, when recommended by the planning and placement team and specified on the individualized education program, a service eligible for reimbursement under the Medicaid program shall be deemed to be authorized by a practitioner of the healing arts under 42 CFR 440.130, provided such service is recommended by an appropriately licensed or certified individual and is within the individual's scope of practice. Certain items of durable medical equipment, recommended pursuant to the provisions of this subdivision, may be subject to prior authorization requirements established by the Commissioner of Social Services. Diagnostic and evaluation services eligible for reimbursement under the Medicaid program and recommended by the planning and placement team shall also be deemed to be authorized by a practitioner of the healing arts under 42 CFR 440.130 provided such services are recommended by an appropriately licensed or certified individual and are within the individual's scope of practice.

(10) The Commissioner of Social Services shall implement the policies and procedures necessary for the purposes of this subsection while in the process of adopting such policies and procedures in regulation form, provided notice of intent to adopt the regulations is published in the Connecticut Law Journal within twenty days of implementing the policies and procedures. Such policies and procedures shall be valid until the time final regulations are effective.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2015

New section

Sec. 2

July 1, 2015

10-220a

Sec. 3

July 1, 2015

10-76b

Sec. 4

July 1, 2015

10-76d(a)

KID

Joint Favorable Subst. -LCO

 

ED

Joint Favorable