AutCom strongly supports Congressional legislation to protect children from dangerous restraint and seclusion. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has documented the deaths of 20 children from restraint and seclusion. Other children have suffered injuries, including broken bones, and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Restraint and seclusion are disproportionately used against children with disabilities and minorities. AutCom salutes Congressman George Miller and Senator Tom Harkin for championing strong restraint and seclusion legislation in Congress over the years, through bills, House hearings, Senate hearings, and other activities. We look forward to the day when all children in this country are protected from these very dangerous practices.
In May 2013, the Keeping All Students Safe Act, HR 1893, was introduced in the U.S. House to protect all students nationwide from restraint and seclusion. AutCom applauds its sponsors, Congressman George Miller (D-CA), ranking member of the House Education & Workforce Committee and Congressman Gregg Harper (R-MS), for working to ensure that all students receive positive behavioral supports rather than be subjected to these dangerous practices. You can watch Congressman Miller’s speech on youtube.com. Here is a letter from over 200 national, state, and local organizations supporting the Keeping All Students Safe Act and urging that restraint and seclusion be limited to emergencies threatening physical harm and that parents be notified of their use.
Please contact your representatives and ask them to cosponsor the Keeping All Students Safe Act, HR 1893. You can call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, ask for your Representative’s Office, and then ask for the education aide. If you are unable to call and need to use email, you can look up their contact info at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. But please call your Congressional Representative if you can; they take calls very seriously because they are harder to make.
We have the following resources available to help you:
Here is a Summary and Analysis of State Restraint and Seclusion Laws and policies. This review of state policies is updated and includes the most recent laws and regulations about seclusions and restraint.
Expert Witness Fees
When parents are forced in IDEA cases to seek an impartial due process hearing, they must be able to afford expert witness fees. Although Congress intended that parents be able to recover expert fees if they prevail at a hearing, the Supreme Court held in Arlington Central School District v. Murphy (2006) that they could not. But few middle and lower-income families can afford expert witnesses; approximately 36% of children with disabilities live in families earning less than $25,000 a year. The IDEA Fairness Restoration Act (S.613 and H.R. 1208), introduced by Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman Chris Van Hollen, would restore Congress’ intent and allow parents to recover expert fees.
Here are some more documents regarding this issue:
For more information on AutCom’s Congressional Activities, please contact Jessica Butler, AutCom Congressional Affairs Coordinator, email@example.com