Hearst Media recently covered the issue of restraint and seclusion in Connecticut schools. Now legislation is being introduced in Connecticut that would prohibit the of seclusion of special education students and would update the rules around the use of restraint. The bill is set to have a hearing on March 15th at noon (ET).
This is where you come in. If you have been impacted by the use of restraint and seclusion lawmakers, need to hear your story.
If you have been restrained or secluded, or if a member of your family has been restrained or secluded, you are an expert on the impact.
If you are an educator or an advocate, lawmakers need to hear from you as well. If you know, there is a better way your voice is needed. Regardless of whether you are from Connecticut, if you have experience, you are an expert.
Here is the ask:
- Provide written comments and support for bill 1200.
- Register for live virtual or in-person testimony.
Guidance for Testimony
Whether providing written or live testimony, here are a few basic recommendations to consider:
- Introduce yourself, stating your full name
- State that you are in support of bill 1200
- Share your personal story or experience (be brief)
- State why you think this bill is needed (see talking points).
- Ask the representatives to support the bill
- Thank them for the opportunity to speak
10 Talking Points
Here are a few potential talking points to consider in your testimony:
- The use of restraint and seclusion increases stress behaviors. The use of these misguided interventions leads to an increase in classroom behaviors.
- Restraint and seclusion use leads to trauma for students, teachers, and staff. Children and adults are often injured during physical interventions, and children have died being restrained.
- There are better ways to support children, teachers, and staff while reducing and eliminating restraint and seclusion.
- The greatest likelihood of injuries to staff is when they go hands-on to restrain or seclude a child.
- Restraint and seclusion are not trauma-informed practices and do lead to school-based trauma.
- There is no educational or therapeutic value to using physical restraint and seclusion.
- 80% of restraints and 77% of seclusion are done to children with disabilities. Most often it is very young children (5, 6 and 7 years old) with disabilities being restrained and secluded.
- Many states have banned the use of seclusion or are currently proposing legislation.
- Black and brown students are disproportionately restrained and secluded in schools.
- The Department of Justice is actively investigating school districts nationwide, and Connecticut could be next.
Don’t Sit on the Sidelines
This is a disability rights issue, a human rights issue, a children’s rights issue, and a civil rights issue. Please take 5 minutes and support our friends in Connecticut. Regardless of whether you are in Connecticut if you or someone you love has experienced restraint and seclusion, you are an expert on the topic. Your voice needs to be heard. Lawmakers need to understand the trauma and the pain caused by these outdated and dangerous approaches to classroom management.