CT Sen. Chris Murphy Calls for Restrictions of Restraint and Seclusion in U.S. Schools

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From CT Insider: “A group of national lawmakers, led by Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, have reintroduced a proposal that would block schools nationally from secluding students in locked rooms or using certain types of physical restraints, Murphy announced Thursday.

Though the bill, called the Keeping All Students Safe Act, faces long odds in a divided Congress, it has gained supporters this year, with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, who leads the Senate committee overseeing education, now backing the proposal.

‘It is absolutely unacceptable that children across this country, disproportionately students of color and students with disabilities, face dangerous seclusion and restraint practices,’ Sanders said in a statement. ‘It is our moral responsibility to ban these practices once and for all.’

Similar legislation has been introduced in Congress since 2009 but has failed to pass.

In a news release announcing the proposed bill Murphy cited a year-long Hearst Newspapers investigation revealing that schools restrain and seclude special education students thousands of times a day and hundreds of thousands of times a year, sometimes resulting in serious injury or even death.

‘It’s hard to believe, but there are thousands of kids who are being put in solitary confinement or having their hands bound as punishment for misbehavior at school,’ Murphy, who was not available for an interview, said in a statement. ‘These practices are downright dangerous and completely ineffective ways to address behavioral issues in the classroom.’

As part of the proposed bill, schools receiving federal money would not be permitted to seclude students or to restrain them unless necessary to protect student or staff safety. It would altogether ban restraint practices that restrict students’ breathing, such as prone or supine restraints and would offer training ‘to address school-expected behavior with evidence-based, proactive strategies.'”

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