Your help is urgently needed to protect Michigan students. Please support the bipartisan effort to push HB 5409-5418 through Michigan’s senate. These reforms make Michigan’s voluntary guidelines on seclusion and restraint into law, making them mandatory for public and private schools. These bills, for the most part, eliminate the use of restraint and inclusion. The exception being that emergency seclusion and restraint would still be allowed only in emergency situations to protect the safety of others – for example, restraining a student to break up a fight or remove a weapon or seclusion may occur in some situations such as in school suspension taking place inside a classroom. Additionally, spaces specific to seclusion are not allowed, but seclusion – when necessary – can take places in other school spaces, like classrooms. The bills promote the use of evidence-based and research-based practices, such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports used proactively to prevent situations that would lead to emergency seclusion or restraint. The goal is to eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint completely by addressing behavior problems long before they escalate to emergency situations.
The effort has been lead by Lt. Governor Brian Calley – an advocate for disability rights and father of three – including a daughter with Autism. “The practice of using restraints and seclusion or sensory deprivation on any kids, but I’ll say especially our most vulnerable populations, is cruel and inhumane,” the Lt. Governor told The Detroit News. “We need to give children the support they need and stop using archaic methods to control behavior,” said Calley.
These bills reflect a lot of hard work and consensus among legislators, educators, and disability rights service providers and advocates. With the support of the Lieutenant Governor, educators, and advocates the bills have been passed by the House of Representatives. But there are a limited number of session days left for the bill to clear the senate and be signed into law by Governor Snyder. The future of this legislation is uncertain and your voice needs to be heard.
Please act now to protect our children. Click here to contact your state senator and tell them that it is important to you that HB 5409-5418. You can phone or email, but phone calls tend to be most effective.