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Call to Action: Senator Harkin and Senator Enzi announce a hearing on restraint and seclusion

On Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 10:00 A.M. Eastern time, Chairman Tom Harkin and Ranking Member Michael Enzi of the Senate HELP Committee will host a bipartisan hearing,  "Beyond Seclusion and Restraint:  Creating Positive Learning Environments for All Students."  The hearing will be broadcast live at

Senator Harkin's and Senator Enzi's hearing is the first Congressional hearing devoted to restraint and seclusion in this two year Congressional session. The Senate is currently considering the Keeping All Students Safe Act (S.2020) to protect students from restraint and seclusion.  The bill was introduced by Senator Harkin in December 2011. 

Hearing witnesses will include:

  • Dr. Daniel Crimmins, Director, Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University (Atlanta, Georgia.)  Dr. Crimmins played a significant role in Georgia's adoption of its 2010 regulation limiting restraint to emergency situations and banning seclusion in public schools throughout the state and in the Georgia network of 24 educational and therapeutic support programs located throughout Georgia serving students with severe social, emotional, and behavioral needs.  Through this regulation and other actions, Georgia has demonstrated that a culture of positive supports and interventions has resulted in a safer environment for students and staff.
  • Ms. Cyndi Pitonyak, Coordinator of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Montgomery County Public Schools (Christiansburg, Virginia.) For 20 years, Montgomery County Public Schools has used a fully inclusive model of instructions for all students with a strong emphasis on positive behavioral interventions on a school-wide/district-wide basis.
  • Dr. Michael George, Director, Centennial School (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania).  The Centennial School has been a national leader over the last decade in the use of positive behavioral Interventions and supports for students with disabilities.  Use of restraints and seclusion has declined from well over 1,000 occurrences per year to less than ten.  Centennial serves over 35 school districts and provides education for students with the most significant emotional, social, and behavioral needs. The Centennial School's approach has been featured in the national news media.
  • Ms. Deborah (Debbie) Jackson, parent (Easton, Pennsylvania).  Ms. Jackson is the parent of a child who attended Centennial School for two and a half years, benefitting from its positive approach and recently transitioning back to a neighborhood school.

The Senate hearings may be viewed on a traditional computer or tablet, and on many smart phones.

You can help to support this bill by contacting your Senators and your Congressional representative.


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