KUNM

Measure Would Tighten Restrictions On Use Of Restraints

Feb 15, 2017

Students with disabilities in New Mexico are subjected to physical restraint and seclusion at a much higher rate than other students. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would limit the practices.

Seventy six percent of public school students in New Mexico who are subjected to restraints are students with disabilities, according to data from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. There are no federal laws regulating restraint and seclusion.

Some states now require teachers to undergo special training, but New Mexico is among a couple dozen states yet to pass such regulations.

A bi-partisan measure introduced this year would require restraint and seclusion to be used only in emergency situations by specially trained staff and ban the use of mechanical restraints.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the state Public Education Department says emergency use of restraints and seclusion can be necessary for the safety of both teachers and students.

The bill is on the House Judiciary Committee’s agenda Friday, Feb. 17.