Increasing the dialogue among stakeholders in New Jersey’s special education system

On his final days in office, NJ Governor Chris Christie signed into law a measure that establishes requirements for use of restraint and seclusion on students with disabilities in special education. The bipartisan bill, which was passed unanimously in both houses of the NJ Legislature, was strongly opposed by child advocates and parent organizations, but had the backing of many statewide disability organizations.

The measure defines the terms “seclusion technique” and “timeout,” and outlines situations under which physical restraint, seclusion and time out can be used. The new law, which takes effect immediately, requires that families be notified of the use of such “techniques” on their child within 48 hours.

NJDOE will be required to establish guidelines for school districts, educational services commissions, and approved private schools to ensure that a review process is in place to examine the use of physical restraints or seclusion techniques in emergency situations, and for the repeated use of these methods for an individual child, within the same classroom, or by a single individual. NJDOE is also required to collect and published data by county, race, age and gender, to provide assistance to those school districts and approved private schools for students with disabilities for which the data indicate a high incidence of the use of physical restraint or seclusion techniques, and recommend methods for reducing the use of physical restraint or seclusion techniques.

To read the bill, click here: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2016/Bills/S1500/1163_R2.PDF

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