JEFFERSON CITY—The Missouri House of Representatives gave final approval for proposed changes to state laws regarding the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools.

House Bill 1568, sponsored by Rep. Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka, would require public schools to have seclusion and restraint policies that address:

  • When a child should be removed from restraint, seclusion or isolation 
  • Annual mandatory training
  • Reporting occurrences of restraint, seclusion or isolation to the parents and the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)
  • Annual review of use of restraint, seclusion or isolation

Additionally, the bill defines "restraint" and "seclusion," and requires school districts to have a policy prohibiting the use of seclusion and restraint for any reason other than when there is "imminent danger of physical harm to self or others." Restraint is defined as physical or mechanical (use of any device or equipment to restrict freedom of movement); seclusion is the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area that the student cannot leave.

All incidents would be required to be reported to the department's data system and be publicly available, with protection for individuals who report policy violations.

Reps. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport; Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia; Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville; Martha Stevens, D-Columbia; and Sara Walsh, R-Ashland, all voted in favor. 

The bill passed by a vote of 149-4 and now heads to the Senate, where lawmakers will have the opportunity to discuss and amend the bill.

  • Spring 2020 state government reporter. I am a senior studying data journalism. I can be reached by email at ashlynohara@mail.missouri.edu or on Twitter at @ashlyn_ohara.

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