SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

SENATE, No. 1163

 

with committee amendments

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED: †MAY 23, 2016

 

†††† The Senate Education Committee favorably reports Senate Bill No. 1163 with committee amendments.

†††† As amended, this bill requires a school district or an approved private school for students with disabilities that chooses to utilize physical restraint on students with disabilities to ensure that:

      physical restraint is used only in an emergency in which the student is exhibiting behavior that places the student or others in immediate physical danger;

      a student is not restrained in the prone position unless the studentís primary care physician authorizes the use of this restraint technique;

      staff members who are involved in the restraint of a student receive training in safe techniques for physical restraint.† This training must be updated at least annually; and

      the parent or guardian of a student is immediately notified by telephone or through some means of electronic communication when physical restraint has been used on the student.† A full written report of the incident must be provided to the parent or guardian within 48 hours of the occurrence of the incident.

†††† The bill also requires a school district or private school for students with disabilities to ensure that a seclusion technique is used on a student with disabilities only with the prior written consent of the studentís primary care physician or in an emergency in which the student is exhibiting behavior that places the student or others in immediate physical danger.

†††† The bill provides that for the use of either physical restraints or seclusion techniques:

      each incident must be visually monitored;

      each incident must be documented in writing in detail; and

      attempts must be made to minimize the use of these measures through the development and implementation of individualized comprehensive, positive behavior intervention plans.

†††† In addition, under the provisions of the bill, the Department of Education is required to annually collect and publish on its website data from school districts and private schools for students with disabilities on the number of times a physical restraint or a seclusion technique was utilized on a student and the type and duration of the physical restraint or seclusion technique that was used, and the number of students on which a physical restraint or a seclusion technique was utilized. †The department will disaggregate the data by county and by the race, gender, and age of the student.

††††† The committee amended the bill to: 1) provide that physical restraint will be used only in an emergency in which the student is exhibiting certain dangerous behavior and that the required written report on the use of physical restraint will be provided to the parent or guardian within 48 hours of the incident, rather than 24 hours; 2) provide that seclusion techniques will be permitted when there is an emergency in which the student is exhibiting certain dangerous behavior, in addition to when the primary care physician has provided prior written consent; 3)† provide that in the case of the use of physical restraints or seclusion techniques, the incident is visually monitored and documented in writing; 4) require that school districts and approved private schools for students with disabilities attempt to minimize the use of physical restraints and seclusion techniques through the implementation of positive behavior intervention plans; 5)† provide greater detail on the type of data to be collected and published by the department on the use of physical restraint and seclusion techniques and require the department to provide assistance to schools where the data indicate a high incidence of the use of physical restraint or seclusion techniques; and 6) require the department to establish guidelines for school districts and approved private schools for students with disabilities to ensure a review of the use of physical restraints and seclusion techniques for the purpose of revising certain protocols.