Last Friday December 16 2011, Senator Tom Harkin (D. Iowa) introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act . Similar legislation was introduced last year and passed the House of Representatives, but did not pass the Senate. The purpose of the bill is to: (1) promote the development of effective intervention and prevention practices that do not use restraint and seclusion; (2) protect all students from physical or mental abuse, aversive behavioral interventions that compromise health and safety, and any restraint imposed for purposes of coercion, discipline or convenience, or as a substitute for appropriate educational or positive behavioral interventions and supports; (3) ensure that staff are safe from the harm that can occur from inexpertly using restraints; and (4) ensure the safety of all students and school personnel and promote positive school culture and climate.
This bill would establish minimum standards for the use of restraint and prohibits locked seclusion in educational settings. Restraint may only be imposed if there is imminent danger of serious bodily injury. While some states do have legislation restricting the use of restraint, many states do not.