Please read this forwarded message by Disability Rights Maine that gives opportunity to share your family's experience with restraint and seclusion at the state level. If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Dionne, Executive Director, Autism Society of Maine: 1-800-273-5200
The Bill is referred to as LD 1376, "An Act To Direct the Department of Education To Amend Its Rules To Ensure That Physical Restraint and Seclusion Policies Are Followed for Special Education Students and Make Biennial Reports on the Use of Physical Restraint and Seclusion."
Bill text: https://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0997&item=1&snum=129 , also attached.
The Bill is scheduled for public hearing on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 1 PM in Augusta at the Cross Building in Room 208.
Given your experience with _____ enduring restraint and seclusion in school, I wanted you to be aware of this platform to share, if you are interested. The Bill is designed to add more accountability to school districts in the use of restraint and seclusion. I believe it would be valuable for the members of the Committee On Education and Cultural Affairs to hear your story regardless if you are 'for' or 'neither for nor against' the Bill. We will be there testifying for the Bill and can provide support, if you need.
You need to be aware that public hearings are in fact public. Any written testimony provided for the hearing will be placed online on a page associated with the bill and any oral testimony is streamed online and recorded. So you need to take this into account when determining what information to share.
Issues that you might highlight:
-Experience with restraint and seclusion at a special purpose private school versus a public school,
-Special purpose private school's dependence on using the seclusion room for managing behavior,
-Overuse of restraint and seclusion,
-Inappropriately using restraint or seclusion when there no emergency and the student presented no risk of injury or harm to herself or others,
-Not recording as 'seclusion' when the student was alone in the time away room and the doorway was blocked by a staff,
-Staff need more training to teach students skills, as opposed to reacting with dangerous restraints or seclusions,
-The affects you see on the student from enduring these interventions.
Here are some resources to aid you in your testimony:
DRM's 2017 Report highlighting the data and flagging issues: https://drme.org/news/2017/chapter-33-report
Current resources from MDOE regarding restraint and seclusion: https://www.maine.gov/doe/schools/safeschools/restraint
Guides on how to testify: https://www.maine.gov/sos/path/exploring/testify.html ,and
If you are unavailable to attend that day, you can also just submit your comments here: https://www.mainelegislature.org/testimony/
Autism Society of Maine
Phone: 1-800-273-5200 or 207-377-9603
72 B Main St., Winthrop, ME 04364