Thursday, March 4, 2010

Should Private Schools Be Covered by the New Seclusion & Restraint Law?

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The Council For American Private Education, an umbrella group representing a large percentage of private schools in the United States, has written a letter to Congress asking that private schools be exempted from HR 4247, the new Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act.In response, the group called the Alliance to Prevent Restraint and Aversive Intervention and Seclusion, an umbrella group of groups that advocate for parents and children with disabilities, issued their own letter to Congress opposing the CAPE letter. Here is an analysis of the controversy by the Disability Scoop blog.

We have run a number of posts about this issue. I believe that seclusion and restraints is the hot button issue of special education law for the current decade. For example, this is a prior post from this blog with a number of links to resources about the current house bill.

The Senate has not yet taken up this bill. Of course the Senate was recently held hostage by the Senator from Kentucky. (This dates me, but I remember Jim Bunning as a pitcher in the major leagues. It is unfortunate that he will now be remembered as the great enemy of the unemployed rather than the Hall of Fame hurler that impressed so many of us. ) In any event, the Senate is currently tied in knots on other issues. It may be a while before education issues surface there.

But in addition to the pending bipartisan House bill, a larger issue is whether IDEA reauthorization should deal more with behavior issues. IDEA currently only requires positive behavior supports after a proposed disciplinary change of placement is blocked by a finding that a manifestation of the child's disability. There is also a more general and somewhat vague section in the IEP development section that requires the IEP team to consider appropriate strategies if the student's behaviors impede the learning of the student or others. For citations, etc, see this previous post.

Many people think that these provisions need to be beefed up. What do you think?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Jim, I've written a post about this issue, looking at it as (a) a friend to, and advocate for, children with autism; and (b) a long-time trustee for several independent schools.

    None of the schools I have been associated with as a trustee would fall under the provisions of this bill, as none have accepted any funds that would give the bill sway.

    Unfortunately, I don't think there is an easy or good answer.

  3. Thanks Liz,

    I appreciate your thoughts.