December 12, 9:47 PMDenver Special Education ExaminerJeff Konrade-Helm
Comparing the federal “Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act (HR 4247)” to Colorado’s "Protection of Persons from Restraint Act" and its subsequent rules limiting and regulating similar practices; the two measures have more in common than differences.
Basically, each approach limits the use of such interventions to instances where the student is at “imminent” risk of harming him/herself, staff or other students, only for as long as absolutely necessary and they must cease their use immediately when it is clear the risk is no longer present.
Likewise, both the state and federal measures call for the use of such methods by properly trained and qualified personnel who receive continuing updated training (reflecting current best practices) on a periodic basis.
Where the two measures differ is in the use of the term “emergency,” but it is not a substantive difference with respect to overall intent. The Colorado rule uses “emergency” to describe the situation in which such restraint and/or seclusion can be used; whereas, the federal bill describes in nearly identical language the situations potentially warranting such interventions, it uses “emergency” to identify instances where such measures may be practiced in absence of properly trained, qualified staff.
This will surely be an area to be ironed out by the states should this or similar language end up in the final version.
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