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Important Legislation Regarding Restraint & Seclusion is Heading to a Vote

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December, 2016

Special Education
Restraint & Seclusion
Michigan

Contact Your Legislator

Make Sure Your Voice Is Heard!

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The Restraint and Seclusion Legislation has passed Committee in the State House and will now be voted on in the Michigan House of Representatives. Afterwards, the legislation will need to go through the same voting process in the Senate. Your voice can be heard loud and clear by contacting your State Representatives and State Senators. To find out who your Reps are, use this handy tool and consider giving them a call or writing to ask for their vote in support of HBs 5409-5418 and SBs 835-838.

The vote is scheduled to occur sometime during the week of December 5th. We have put together a sample script to use when calling or writing your Reps here:

“Hello, I am (NAME) calling about the Restraint and Seclusion Legislation (HBs 5409-5418 and SBs 835-838) that have recently passed the House Committee. These bills will prevent the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint in an effort to address behavioral issues of those with developmental disabilities and autism. As a voting member in your district, I urge you to vote in support of this legislation.”

If you have any questions, please contact AAoM’s Navigator Team at 877-463-AAOM. For more information on these bills, below is a letter from Lt. Governor Brian Calley.

School should be a place where kids can safely learn and grow. It should be a place where they are surrounded by people who believe in their potential and who support their development into independent and successful adults. Achieving this shared goal is particularly important for students with disabilities. Sadly, there is an injustice that exists today in far too many schools: the use of restraints and seclusion rooms.

You may find it hard to believe that such use still occurs in our schools. In other parts of our society, tying up children, strapping them down, or physically confining them in an effort to address behavioral issues is considered barbaric and inhumane and has been for years. And the use of sensory deprivation or “seclusion” rooms has long been understood to be dangerous and to worsen behavioral problems.

Ten years ago, the State Board of Education adopted a policy to end the use of restraints and seclusion rooms in nonemergency situations. This policy change was implemented after a child in Kalamazoo suffocated and died in restraints in a public school. While some schools have complied with the voluntary policy, many have not.

Last year, I traveled the state on a listening tour. I simply sat and listened to parents tell me about their experiences with special education. While I heard a mix of positive and negative feedback, what haunts me the most today are the stories from moms and dads of kids with developmental disabilities about how their kids were treated like animals, locked up, tied down and emotionally scarred.

I know this must sound unbelievable to you. It sure did to me. Had I not heard from hundreds of parents, both in person and electronically, I’m not sure I would have believed it myself. These practices often happen out of sight of the general population, and there is no legal requirement that the use of restraints or seclusion rooms be reported to the state, or even to the parents.

HBs 5409-5418 and SBs 835-838 constitute a bipartisan, bicameral, widely supported package of bills that will leave these inhumane and barbaric practices in the past—where they belong. It is my hope to see this legislation through to the governor’s desk yet this year.

Supporters include:

Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education (MAASE)
Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA)
Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA)
Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB)
Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP)
Michigan Education Association (MEA)
Michigan Department of Education (MDE)
Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services (MPAS)
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Michigan Alliance for Special Education
United Way of Southwestern Michigan
Arc of Michigan
Arc of NW Wayne County
Arc of Western Wayne County
Arc of Newaygo County
Michigan Council for Maternal Child Health
Michigan Family Voices
Eastern Michigan University
National Patients’ Rights Association
Calhoun, Barry, Branch, Jackson, Lenawee and Monroe ISD’s
Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council
Washtenaw Community Advocacy
ESA Legislative Group (members below)

  • Allegan Area ESA
  • Bay Arenac ISD
  • Clinton County RESA
  • Gratiot-Isabella RESD
  • Huron ISD
  • Ingham ISD
  • Ionia County ISD
  • Kalamazoo RESA
  • Lewis Cass ISD
  • Livingston ESA
  • Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation
  • Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education
  • Michigan Association of School Boards
  • Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association
  • Michigan Head Start Association
  • Michigan Industrial and Technology Education Society
  • Midland County ESA
  • Montcalm Area ISD
  • Newaygo County RESA
  • Saginaw ISD
  • School Equity Caucus
  • Shiawassee RESD
  • St. Joseph ISD
  • Tuscola ISD
  • VanBuren ISD
  • Washtenaw ISD

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