DeSantis Signs Bill Reforming Restraint Practices on Children With Disabilities

DeSantis Signs Bill Reforming Restraint Practices on Children With Disabilities

Top Democrat continues championing winning legislation

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
June 22, 2021

After unsuccessful attempts to address the issue of restraining practices on students will disabilities, Florida Rep. Bobby DuBose (D) and state Senator Lauren Book (D) have successfully drafted bills that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law. The bill reforms school restraint practices used on students with disabilities, and it aims to better address the students’ safety.

With DuBose’s HB149 and Book’s SB192, the legislation revises requirements for any use of seclusion and restraint as punishment used against students with disabilities. Physical restraint would not be used as a disciplinary measure, but it would be used during instances to protect the students or school personnel. A student would also be restrained as a last resort.

The legislation defines seclusion as “the involuntary confinement. Of a student in a room or area alone and preventing the student from leaving the room or area alone.” As well, it defines physical restraint as “the use of manual restraint techniques that involve significant physical force applied by a teacher or other staff member to restrict the movement of all or part of a student’s body.” Moreover, “the term does not include briefly holding a student in order to calm or comfort the student or physically escorting a student to a safe location.”

When the legislation was introduced in early April, DuBose commented that “students have suffered bone fractures, bleeding and in some unfortunate cases, death,” according to the current restraint protocols. In an effort to address the concern, DuBose stressed the need to change the practices because “restraint and seclusion techniques are too heavily depended on in the classroom, specifically when issues arise with students who have disabilities.”

The legislations prohibit the use of any physical techniques that would inflict pain on the student. Such as zip ties, straight jackets, tie-downs or handcuffs.

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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