The ongoing use of restraint, seclusion, and other aversive techniques continues to plague our schools and threaten our children. At the federal level the Keeping All Students Safe Act (H.R. 1893) languishes in the House Education and Work Force committee while we continue to wait for the companion bill to be introduced in the Senate. Some states are moving ahead to protect students, on January 1, 2014 Mississippi legislator Gray Tollison (MS-9) introduced the “Mississippi Student Safety Act” (SB 2594).
This bill proposes:
Banning the use of mechanical and chemical restraints, physical restraints that restrict breathing, and aversive interventions that compromise health and safety (these techniques are defined in this bill);
Banning the use of seclusion that leaves a child alone or locked in a space from which the child is unable to exit.
Limiting the use of restraint to emergency circumstances in which student behavior poses an imminent danger to safety and less restrictive interventions would not be effective.
Requiring school personnel who implement the techniques to be trained and certified, and require that they continuously monitor students during interventions;
Requiring schools to establish procedures to be followed after restraint or seclusion are used, including parental notification;
Requiring districts to report the yearly number of restraint and seclusion incidents; and
Calling for a debriefing session following the use of restraint to discover what went wrong as a way to further prevention efforts.
If you live in Mississippi, there are several steps that you can take to support this bill:
Contact Senator Gray Tollison (chair of the Senate Education Committee) to thank him for introducing this bill and tell him you support it.
Contact members of the Senate Education Committee and let them know why this bill is so important to keep students safe.
Read the full text of the proposed Mississippi legislation here.
Use the resources section of this website for your conversations with your legislators and other stakeholders.
While we at TASH continue to promote federal legislation. However, this bill in Mississippi can serve as an important step in keeping students safe from these deadly tactics.