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January25

Comm. passes bill requiring policy limiting restraint and seclusion use

Committee members passed a bill relating to the use of restraint and seclusion of students in schools.

 

On a 5-1 vote, members of the Senate Education committee passed Senate Bill 46, which requires school districts to adopt a policy limiting the use of restraint and seclusion.

 

ASBSD supports the bill and testified in its favor about the development of a sample policy related to the topic.

 

“We want the best sample policy,” ASBSD Director of Policy and Legal Services Gerry Kaufman said, adding the Association has shared the sample policy with other education stakeholders for input.

 

“We believe it important…for school districts to be able to write their own policy within the parameters of Senate Bill 46.”

 

The bill sets four provisions that would be required within the policy, they include:

  • A procedure for notifying the parent or guardian of the student on the same business day, unless the student is emancipated, of an incident requiring the use of restraint or seclusion;
  • A prohibition on the use of prone restraint, defined as physical pressure applied to any part of the student’s body to keep the student in a face down position on the floor or other surface;
  • A prohibition on the use of involuntary confinement of a student locked alone in a room;
  • Training on crisis prevention and the proper use of restraint and seclusion.

Department of Education Director of Special Education Linda Turner noted South Dakota is one of four states without a policy requirement on record. Secretary of Education Don Kirkegaard added “the Department will make (the proposal) a priority.”

 

“I think this is a piece of statute in the right direction,” Sen. Deb Soholt said. “It just is really important to develop consistent policy.”

 

A sentiment Kaufman and ASBSD agree with and will continue working towards a strong sample policy to provide school districts.

 

“ASBSD does believe very strongly in (school district) policies,” Kaufman said. “It becomes the law of the district.”

 

SB 46 now moves to the Senate floor for review.

 

For updates on the bill and from legislative session, check the ASBSD BlogTwitter feed and Bill Tracker page.

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