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June 5, 2012

Senate HELP Committee Plans Hearing on Restraint & Seclusion

Senators Harkin (D-Iowa) and Enzi (R-Wyo.) have announced a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Hearing on June 28, 10 a.m., at the Dirksen Building, Room SD-G50. The Hearing will explore the topic Beyond Seclusion and Restraint:  Creating Positive Learning Environments for All Students.

Additional details will be posted at http://www.help.senate.gov/hearings within the next few days.  TASH members can also view the hearing at this site.

The current witness list for the hearing includes:

Dr. Daniel Crimmins, Director, Center for Leadership in Disability, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

Ms. Cyndi Pitonyak, Coordinator of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Montgomery County Public Schools, Christiansburg, Virginia

Dr. Michael George, Director, Centennial School, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Ms. Deborah (Debbie) Jackson, parent, Easton, Pennsylvania

The lack of protections for all students limiting the use of aversive behavioral strategies, restraint and seclusion has proven to be a disastrous missing component of our national education policy for children and parents.  It is time to align federal education policy with all other federal policy related to human services and for the nation’s youngest, most vulnerable citizens. The Keeping All Students Safe Act, S. 2020, represents a culmination of years of advocacy against abusive behavioral interventions that dehumanize and harm students.  The time to pass this bill is now – we can no longer endure harm to vulnerable children as a result of abusive practices when decades of research equip education professionals with positive, safe and effective alternatives.

This is a great time to ask your Senators to co-sponsor S. 2020 and your Representative to co-sponsor HR 1381 (which has similar provisions) by visiting www.congress.org and entering your zipcode, which links you to the correct email address. You can find additional resources here.

Simply write “Please co-sponsor S. 2020″ or “Please co-sponsor HR 1381″ and, if you can take the time, include a brief paragraph about yourself and why you care about this issue.

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