ACTION ALERT HB 75 – Prohibit seclusion and restraint in schools

ACTION ALERT

HB 75 – Prohibit seclusion and restraint in schools

The Legislature has passed a bill that would prohibit the use of seclusion or restraint on children in public schools, except in emergency situations.  Now it’s up to the governor to either veto this bill or sign it into law.

If HB 75 is signed into law:

  • Seclusion or restraint would be allowed only if a student’s behavior presents an imminent danger of serious physical harm to the student or to others, and other ways of addressing the danger are not likely to work.
  • Parents would have to be notified within 24 hours of any incident involving the restraint or seclusion of their child, and then be provided with written documentation with specific information about the incident, such as what might have caused the incident, techniques used etc.
  • Schools would have to develop policies on how to successfully re-integrate children back into the school or classroom.
  • If a second incident of seclusion or restraint occurs within 30 days of the first incident, schools would have to convene an IEP team to determine how to avoid future incidents, if the child is in special education.  A similar approach would be required for children who are not in special education.

National data show that 2/3 of all children subject to seclusion or restraint have disabilities; in New Mexico, it may be as high as 3/4.

Disability Rights New Mexico (DRNM) believes that the time has come to stop locking kids in closets, tying them to their desks or dragging them down the hall.

If this issue is important to you, please contact Governor Susana Martinez and ask her to sign HB 75.  You can reach her by any of these methods:

  • Call her office at 505-476-2200, and leave a message.
  • Send an email message through her website, www.governor.state.nm.us.   Click on “Contact and Constituent Services” at the top of the page and then on “Contact the governor”, and a form to fill out will come up on your screen to send your message to Gov. Martinez.
  • Send a letter to her at:

Gov. Susana Martinez
State Capitol – Room 400
490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

The governor has until April 7 to decide whether to sign or veto a bill but she can do so at any time, so act soon.  And thanks for making the voice of the disability community heard!

Message from Ellen Pinnes