01/09/13 State Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport) Tuesday announced new legislation aimed at protecting children and staff members in schools.

Senate Bill 345 would require each school corporation, including charter schools, to develop a policy that reduces the use of physical restraint or seclusion when students become aggressive.

“Over the summer, the General Assembly’s Autism Commission reviewed evidence showing the horrible, but unintended consequences restraint and seclusion can have,” Head said. “There have been reports of students dying due to the well-meaning actions of untrained individuals. While this is a rare situation, it is a tragedy that should never have to happen. We can prevent this by making certain our teachers and staff members are prepared for these situations.”

Head said his plan would require school policies to include statements on the following:

  • How appropriate student behavior will be promoted.
  • The school’s intention to use prevention, positive behavior intervention and conflict de-escalation before using seclusion or restraint.
  • The condition that any behavioral intervention used will be consistent with the student’s most current behavioral intervention plan or individualized education program.
  • A guarantee that if seclusion or restraint is used, the procedure will be done as a last resort for safety procedure after another less restrictive procedure has been implemented.

Additionally, the policy must provide requirements for time limits and enclosures used for seclusion, adult supervision in the event of isolation, appropriate documentation and immediate parent notification. Schools must also require training for employees on the appropriate use of restraint and seclusion as well as effective alternatives.

“There are times when seclusion and restraint may be necessary to stop a student from harming someone,” Head said. “But we can’t leave that open to interpretation. Putting policies like this in place will help ensure our students are treated with care, regardless of the situation.”

Head filed SB 345 yesterday at the opening of the 2013 legislative session.