Monday, March 8, 2010

AutCom Applauds House of Representatives for Passing Restraint and Seclusion Bill; Urges Quick Senate Action

The Autism National Committee (AutCom) today thanks the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 4247, the Keeping All Students Safe in School Act. The bill is the first national effort to impose a floor of protections against restraint, seclusion, and aversives for children in school.

Across America, schoolchildren are placed in restraints and confined in seclusion rooms that are locked or from which they cannot exit. Children are injured, traumatized, and have died. The majority of students subjected to these techniques have disabilities and many have autism.

Almost half of all states provide little or no protection against restraint, seclusion, and aversives. The bill will require those states with laws below the federal minimum standard to upgrade their laws.

AutCom believes it is time for America to protect all children everywhere against restraint, seclusion, and aversives. Children are protected if they are in hospitals and medical facilities. Isn’t it time to extend the same protection to schools, where children spend most of their day?

AutCom is deeply grateful for the excellent work and leadership of Congressman George Miller, Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and their staffs. Chairman Miller and Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers introduced the bill in December.

We are also grateful to Senator Chris Dodd, who introduced a similar bill in the Senate, S.2860. We ask the Senate to pass a bill quickly and then for the President to sign the bill into law. America’s children deserve nothing less.

You can read more about the House restraint and seclusion bill here: http://edlabor.house.gov/newsroom/2010/03/houses-approves-bill-to-protec.shtml

You can watch Chairman Miller’s fantastic speech in support of the bill here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K239Glb77y4

The restraint/seclusion bill is supported by dozens of national organizations, including AutCom. You can read AutCom’s letter to Congress urging passage of the bill here:
http://edlabor.house.gov/blog/2010/01/supporters-of-the-preventing-h.shtml
and then click on "Autism National Committee" (links to pdf file).

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