Portsmouth, NH: 13 year old with ASD restrained 12 times a day, secluded for 5 hours a day

Jan 24, 2018, Portsmouth, NH, Foster's Daily Democrat: Local mom: NH student restraint law ‘does not work A local mother provided emotional testimony Tuesday before the New Hampshire House’s Education Committee in the hopes it would convince legislators to add new protections to a law that governs the physical restraint of students in schools. Samantha Battis, of Rochester, testified in support of House Bill 1409 in Concord on Tuesday. HB 1409 would create a third-party administrative hearing option for parents who feel school districts are excessively restraining children or violating their individualized education plans (IEPs), adding an extra degree of safety and scrutiny that Battis believes would have helped her son. “Unfortunately, the (current law) does not work,” Battis told Foster’s Daily Democrat Wednesday. “We’re definitely at a point in our society where we’re having difficult conversations about issues. We need to have a difficult conversation about restraint and isolation in classroom settings.” … Battis alleges her son, 13-year-old Ben Battis, a Rochester student with autism, was being restrained up to 12 times a day and was being secluded in a locked classroom for up to five hours a day. Those incidents, she claims, involved alleged outbursts in which school staff felt Ben posed imminent harm to himself or others. Ben often came home with bruises after the restraints and incidents, Battis claims. Battis has said she came forward because she felt her attempts to gain more information about the restraints weren’t successful at various local and state levels, as well as because she felt more accountability was needed if the same student continued to be restrained or secluded day after day. Battis allegedly contacted a number of attorneys along the way last year, and claims each of them told her that they didn’t see anything against the law in how the Rochester School Department and Ben’s various out-of-district placements handled his restraints or seclusions. … Phinney said he hopes his restraint bill will provide “another way a parent can make sure (school and IEP) guidelines are followed.” … The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is still reportedly investigating the Rochester School Department over Battis’s allegations that the district mishandled Ben’s education in various ways over eight years…. Ben is currently receiving three hours of in-home tutoring five days a week as part of his IEP. Battis said her son is doing well and has been aggression- and incident-free under the format. Ben’s in-home tutoring began after a specialized Beverly, Mass., school suspended Ben’s out-of-district placement there in September. The school suspended Ben’s placement following an incident in which Ben allegedly got physical with school staff. Battis has previously provided school emails and other documentation substantiating the school’s claims regarding that incident and the suspension of Ben’s placement.