Senate committee passes bill limiting child restraint in schools

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- An Arizona Senate committee passed a bill Thursday that limits the use of child restraint in the classroom.

It says use of restraint and seclusion of students in the classroom -- particularly those with special needs -- would only be allowed if the student is considered a danger to himself or herself or others.

Holly Reycraft with the East Valley Autism Network said people don't realize how frequently children are being restrained in public schools.

"They're being restrained on a daily basis for non-compliant behavior, not for danger to self or others. So we're asking with this bill that restraint only be used for imminent danger. Not as an intervention for behavior," said Reycraft.

This proposal also states only trained personnel would handle the restraint and the children would be under observation the whole time.

"It's very important for me to feel that when I drop my children off at school each day they're going to be safe and well cared for and it's sadly not always the case," said parent Courney Bruno.

She said her son was restrained at school and she was never notified.

She said this proposal adds another layer of communication and expectations for educators and the parents who trust their children in their care.

"I'm very happy to hear that they decided to pursue this bill and I'm hopeful that there will be more accountability," said Bruno.

The bill would also require schools to notify the parents when there is an incident.

This proposal now moves to the Senate floor.