Missouri lawmakers to take up debate on 'seclusion' school discipline

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A form of school discipline known as “seclusion and restraint” will be debated in Jefferson City this legislative session. The bill could change the way Missouri school children are disciplined.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said school districts in Missouri do not have enough guidance when it comes to using certain forms of discipline.

These lawmakers were joined by families in wanting the state to set clearer rules for how school districts use what are known as seclusion rooms. They showed photos from some schools and one parent said her son was hospitalized after he was restrained in a room.

“These rooms didn’t have vents in them, water, or anything; just fresh wood,” said Shawan Daniels, mother.

Republican Dottie Bailey and Democrat Ian Mackey joined in calling for the passage of legislation they have both introduced.

“We don’t want to ban them because there are times when you have a kiddo who might put himself in danger or others, so this is not a ban – we definitely want to safeguarded and put some guard rails up if you will,” said State Rep. Bailey.

Mackey believes it’s a widespread problem.

“We know that there have been misuses in the St. Louis region, the Kansas City region the southwest region, Columbia, so I think it’s a pervasive problem,” he said.

There will be debate over how much the state should be involved in telling local districts what to do but the parents who joined lawmakers believe if the legislation is passed, children stand a better chance of having a positive outcome.

“We will have less trauma on kids, less injuries, less stress on parents, more successful kids,” Daniels said.

The Illinois governor recently issued an emergency rule banning all seclusion in Illinois schools.

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