May 21, 2009
NAMI applauds the House Education and Labor Committee and its Chairman, George Miller (D-CA) for holding a hearing on May 19th that examined the abusive and deadly use of restraint and seclusion in schools.
Chairman Miller opened the hearing by stating that he asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate whether allegations of deadly and abusive seclusion and restraint in schools are founded and widespread. In his opening remarks, he responded that the answer is “yes.” He described what the GAO found as alarming, eye opening, and serious enough to send shockwaves into every corner of this country. You can view the hearing and testimony of witnesses at the House Education and Labor Committee website.
The GAO released its report on May 19th titled Seclusion and Restraints ~ Selected Cases of Death and Abuse at Public and Private Schools and Treatment Centers. The report highlights a series of disturbing cases of students with disabilities, many with mental illness, being restrained and secluded in school, resulting in serious harm and death.
There are no federal laws restricting the use of restraints and seclusion in schools and widely divergent state laws regulating its use in schools. This must change to avoid having more children seriously harmed, traumatized, and even killed through the inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in our nation’s schools.
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