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Update on Bills related to School Restraint/Seclusion on Students with Disabilities (SB 2118/HB 1073)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

These bills, sponsored by Senators Andy Gardiner and Representatives Dorothy Hukill and Marcelo Llorente, represent the Florida legislature’s first effort to enact law to address widespread concerns about the use of seclusion and restraint on students with disabilities in school.

These bills require schools to prepare an incident report within a specified period after each time a student is restrained or secluded. These bills require schools to notify a student's parent or guardian promptly if manual physical restraint or seclusion is used. These bills also require that schools report all incidents of restraint and seclusion to the principal, district special education director, and state special education bureau chief.

These bills take a huge step toward addressing and prohibiting the most dangerous school restraint and seclusion practices. The Advocacy Center applauds the bill sponsors and co-sponsors for this remarkable step forward.

This week members of the Senate Children, Families and Elders Committee voted unanimously in favor of the Senate bill (SB 2118). The Senate bill had previously received unanimous support from the members of the Senate Education PreK-12 Committee. The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Senators Dean, Fasano, Storms and Sobel.

Today, the Senate bill’s final committee reference was removed, clearing the way for these landmark protections for students with disabilities to reach the floor of the Senate in the coming days. The bill is now on second reading in the Senate.

The House companion bill (HB 1073) was previously voted unanimously out of House PreK-12 Policy Committee and the Full Appropriations Council on Education & Economic Development and is also on second reading in the House.

The House bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Ambler, Anderson, Brandenburg, Burgin, Flores, Ford, Fresen, Glorioso, Gonzalez, Heller, Hudson, Jenne, Kiar, McBurney, Nehr, Pafford, Planas, Porth, Precourt, Rader, Reed, Sachs, Schenck, Schultz, Schwartz, Skidmore, Soto, Stargel, Steinberg, Tobia, Williams (T), and Zapata.

These bills are supported by a broad cross-section of disability advocates. The coalition included families of children who have disabilities, non-profit groups, and medical and professional associations.

Posted on 04/22