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MISSOURI: Legislature to deal with restraint/seclusion of "troublesome students"

Dec 26, 2019, Farmington (MO) Press: A first taste of winter House considers strengthening seclusion, restraint laws During the 2020 legislation session lawmakers will consider legislation to strengthen Missouri’s law regarding seclusion and restraint of children in schools. HB 1568 was filed during the pre-filing period that began in the Missouri House on Monday, Dec. 2. The sponsor of the bill filed the legislation two weeks after the governor of Illinois issued an emergency rule banning all seclusion in Illinois schools. Seclusion and restraint policies are meant to give educators an option to deal with troublesome students by restraining them or removing them to a separate space. These practices are meant to be used as a last resort, but their misuse has led to controversy. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the policies are most often used on students with disabilities and special needs. The bill’s sponsor said seclusion and restraint are dangerous practices and violate the sanctity of parental rights. Since there is no federal law regulating the content of seclusion or restraint policies, many states have adopted laws to strengthen policies and protect students and parental rights…. Under current law, Missouri does not offer either of these protections. It currently has one of the weakest seclusion and restraint laws in the country, allowing abusive practices that disproportionately involve the most vulnerable children, those with disabilities. Existing law is vague regarding seclusion and restraint. It does not even define these two actions. Schools must adopt a seclusion and restraint policy but little guidance is given in state law as to what this policy must contain.


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