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Indiana Student Restraint Bill Gets Legislative Hearing

An Indiana Senate committee heard public comment today  on a bill that would require  school corporations across the state to develop and publish a policy on the restraint and seclusion of children, typically involving youngsters in a special education setting.Officials say most of the state’s school corporations have restraint policies, but they’re inconsistent and some are vague.Senate Bill 345 would require them to include specific information, provide training for teachers and staff and publish the policies in a handbook.  Dr. Kathy Pratt with the Indiana Resource Center for Autism says the training component is a good idea."When we’re dealing with individuals who have a history of challenging behaviors , often times people don’t have the tools or the skills or the knowledge to know how to respond," Pratt said." So in the heat of the moment, they respond out of fear and some out of anger, and often times more aggressively than they need to respond.  And that response, quite honestly, puts both them and the students at danger." The measure has the general support of most education groups.     But a representative of Indiana’s charter schools says the bill’s requirements should not extend to those institutions.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.