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Congressional Democrats Seek to Sharply Curtail Restraint, Seclusion of Students

Democrats on Capitol Hill are seeking to ban the practice of isolating students in special rooms or otherwise secluding them in schools that receive federal funds, and to limit when students can be physically restrained. 

The Keeping All Students Safe Act would also require schools to notify parents within 24 hours when their child has been physically restrained, and to require states to collect and publish data on restraint and seclusion, including reports of injuries or death. 

Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., who’s the top Democrat on the House education committee and is poised to become the panel’s chairman next year, and Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., are the authors of the bill. Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington state and Chris Murphy of Connecticut are slated to introduce a companion bill in the Senate. (Murray is the top Democrat on the Senate education committee.)

Restraint and seclusion is a particularly big issue in the special education community, although a House Democratic aide indicated the lawmakers’ ongoing concern about the issue extends beyond students with disabilities.