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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Keeping School Buildings Safe from Eight Year Old Disabled Kids! #really?

From Jim Gerl's Special Education Law Blog

By Jim Gerl, Esq.
August 7, 2015

You may have heard the story about the Kenton County, Kentucky Deputy who is being sued by the parents of an 8-year-old with ADHD. The deputy allegedly handcuffed the disabled child. Worse yet the allegation is that the handcuffs wouldn't fit because the boy's arms were so small, causing the Deputy to handcuff the child's biceps instead. Here is the video of the incident:

Nationally, students with disabilities make up 12 percent of the student population,
but are 75 percent of the students who are physically restrained by adults
in their schools, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Now, the Kenton County Sheriff has defended the Deputy saying that he did what he was sworn to do -- keep the school safe. Here is Washington Post article quoting the Sheriff.

Really? A tiny eight year old with a disability whose wrists are too small for handcuffs is a security threat? I'd hate to be the lawyer who had to make that argument to a jury!

This brings up the larger issue of seclusion and restraints. Early in 2009, a study was released by the Disability Rights Network chronicling grotesque and abusive misuse of restraint and seclusion for children with disabilities resulting in deaths or injuries: “School Is Not Supposed to Hurt: An Investigative Report on The Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Schools,” 

A subsequent GAO study made similar horrific findings. In early February, 2010, the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives approved a bill limiting the use of seclusion and restraints on students,the Keep All Children Safe Act. Among other things, the bill limits the use of these techniques to cases of imminent danger; requires that staff using these techniques be properly trained; outlaws mechanical restraints; requires parental notification and establishes oversight mechanisms.

Note that this is a new law not an amendment to IDEA. Despite the fact that this bill would do many excellent things, Congress has not been able to pass it. {Insert your own lame Congress joke here}

Better yet, call your Congressman and demand that this bill be passed!

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