The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc.
COPAA APPLAUDS HOUSE
ACTION TO PASS RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION BILL
The Council of Parent
Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) today applauds the House of Representatives
for passing H.R. 4247, the Keeping All Students Safe in School Act. This
bill will implement minimum standards to protect all schoolchildren from the
dangers of restraint, seclusion, and aversives. H.R. 4247 passed by a vote
of 262 to 153.
Parents should be able to
send their children to school everyday knowing they will be safe. But as
the GAO and COPAA's own study found, hundreds if not thousands of students
are abused in school, resulting in trauma, injury, and death. The majority
are children with disabilities.
Roughly half of all states
provide little or no protection against restraint, seclusion, and aversives.
The bill will require states with laws below the federal minimum standard to
upgrade their laws.
We give tremendous thanks
to Congressman George Miller, Chair of the House Education and Labor
Committee, and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and their staffs, for
the leadership on this issue. They have worked long and hard to pass H.R.
We thank Senator Chris
Dodd for introducing a companion bill, S.2860. We call upon the Senate to
pass the bill quickly and for the President to sign it into law.
restraint and seclusion has long a major goal for COPAA. In 2008, we adopted
Declaration of Principles, opposing the use of abusive interventions on
school children. More recently, we issued
Unsafe in the Schoolhouse: Abuse of Children with Disabilities (Jessica
Butler, COPAA 2009), documenting 180 incidents of abuse of children with
disabilities. COPAA’s report was relied upon by the House of
Representatives in adopting H.R. 4247, and was recognized in the
legislative history. We also provided written testimony to the House
about the danger of these techniques.
In addition, COPAA has
amicus briefs in two major cases opposing the use of these abusive
methods. We plan to issue a manual for special education practitioners to
help them combat these techniques.
Among other things, HR
Prohibit restraint or
seclusion unless a student’s behavior poses imminent danger of physical
injury to self or others and less restrictive interventions would be
ineffective in stopping such imminent danger;
Prohibit the use of
aversive interventions that compromise health and safety;
and chemical restraints and those that impair breathing;
Encourage the use of
positive behavioral interventions and de-escalation techniques;
monitoring to quickly detect physical or psychological distress if
restraint or seclusion is employed, and permitting continuous direct
visual monitoring only when staff safety is at severe risk;
Prohibit the inclusion
of restraint or seclusion as planned interventions in a child's
Individual Education Program, behavioral plan, or other educational
Require that restraint
or seclusion be implemented only by trained personnel;
Require that the
technique cease when there is no longer a threat of harm;
Require that notice be
provided to parents within 24 hours of the use of restraint and/or
Require the collection
and public reporting of data;
Protect parents’ and
children’s existing rights under federal and state law and regulation;
Protection & Advocacy programs’ authority to investigate and obtain
legal remedies for students who are subject to violations.
HR 4247 was previously
known as the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act.
Only minor technical changes were made to the bill.
For more information visit
For the roll call on the
passage of HR 4247 visit