WASHINGTON—Parents urged Congress on Thursday to limit the ability of state school systems to have special education students physically restrained while in class.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions convened a hearing Thursday that was meant to raise awareness of how much physical force is used when disciplining students. The committee is considering a bill that calls for restraining or secluding students only if they might physically injure other students.
Deborah Jackson of Easton, Pa., told lawmakers that her 9-year-old son, Elijah, was repeatedly restrained or locked down in “seclusion” rooms, and sometimes came home with bruises. She said her son suffers from behavioral disorders that make him aggressive and that he needs to be handled more carefully.
“I was afraid for him to go to school. Elijah will come home distraught and upset and always told me, `They keep holding me down,’” Jackson said. “I felt like I was failing as a parent. Helpless.”
A representative of the Easton Area School District declined to comment.