Liberati Restraint and Seclusion Legislation Passes House

Bill package aims to preserve dignity and safety of students, teachers
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

LANSING — State Representative Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park) thanked his House colleagues today for their passage of House Bills 5409-5417, legislation that restricts the use of restraint and seclusion in all Michigan schools to emergency situations.

“I’m proud to see this bipartisan legislation receive wide support and move one step closer to becoming law,” said Liberati, who is the father of a child with special needs. “I want to thank my House colleagues, especially those who sponsored bills in the package, for putting their support behind this urgently needed legislation.”

In 2006, the State Board of Education set standards limiting the application and use of restraint and seclusion to emergency situations, but those standards do not carry the weight of Michigan law and are not applied equally across the state.

Reforms within the bill package, introduced in March, also include:

  • Defining requirements for the use of restraint and seclusion methods in emergency situations
  • Creating reporting requirements associated with the use of these practices for building administrators, district officials and parents
  • Creating best practices for data collection on incidents and school training requirements for emergencies.

The Special Education Reform Task Force, on which Liberati served as a member, recommended reforms to the governor in February. Included in the recommendations were to restrict the use of restraint and seclusion to specified emergency situations.

“Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and I have worked for many months to develop and improve this legislation, striking the right balance between law and departmental rules, and setting clear guidelines for schools to follow,” Liberati said. “I will continue working to ensure these bills pass the Senate before the end of the term and see Gov. Rick Snyder sign them into law.”