ESHB 1688

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As Reported by Senate Committee On:

Early Learning & K-12 Education, April 3, 2013

Title: An act relating to reporting of incidents of student restraint and isolation in public schools.

Brief Description: Establishing a requirement and system for reporting incidents of student restraint and isolation in public schools for students who have an individualized education program or plan developed under section 504 of the rehabilitation act of 1973.

Sponsors: House Committee on Education (originally sponsored by Representatives Stonier, Pike, Santos, Hayes, Orwall, Bergquist, McCoy, Scott, Ryu, Pollet, Freeman, Farrell and Parker).

Brief History: Passed House: 3/13/13, 98-0.

Committee Activity: Early Learning & K-12 Education: 3/25/13, 4/03/13 [DPA].


Majority Report: Do pass as amended.

Signed by Senators Litzow, Chair; Dammeier, Vice Chair; McAuliffe, Ranking Member; Rolfes, Assistant Ranking Member; Billig, Brown, Cleveland, Fain, Hill, Mullet and Rivers.

Staff: Katherine Taylor (786-7434)

Background: State law encourages parents and teachers to use methods of correction and restraint that are not dangerous to children. The physical discipline of a child is allowed when it is reasonable and moderate and it is inflicted by a parent, teacher, or guardian for purposes of restraining or correcting the child.

The following actions are presumed unreasonable when used to correct or restrain a child:

State law requires school districts to adopt school discipline policies. School districts must collect data on the disciplinary actions taken in schools. This information must be made available to the public, upon request, and are redacted for personally identifiable information.

State rules regarding special education limit the use of student isolation. They specifically indicate that the use of isolation must:

Summary of Bill (Recommended Amendments): The terms isolation, restraint, and restraint device are defined.

The provisions of the bill apply to the following incidents that involve a student who has an IEP or section 504 plan and is participating in school-sponsored instruction or activities:

After school staff releases a student from restraint or isolation, the school must conduct follow-up procedures to include the following:

School employees, resource officers, or school security officers who use chemical spray, mechanical restraint, or physical force on a student must inform the administrator and file a written report to the district office. The contents of the written report are specified.

The principal must make a reasonable effort to verbally inform the parent or guardian about restraint or isolation within 24 hours and provide written notification postmarked within five days. Schools must provide this notification in a language other than English if the school customarily provides school-related information to parents in languages other than English.

Schools that are required to develop IEPs must include within the plan procedures for notification of a parent or guardian. Parents or guardians of children who have an IEP or 504 plan must be provided a copy of the district policy on the use of isolation and restraint.

EFFECT OF CHANGES MADE BY EARLY LEARNING & K-12 EDUCATION COMMITTEE (Recommended Amendments): Removes the two-minute duration required for some restraints to be applicable to the provisions of the bill. Adds a study to be conducted by JLARC of students who have an IEP and were restrained or isolated by a school staff member. Retains the underlying portions of the bill.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Committee/Commission/Task Force Created: No.

Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony on Engrossed Substitute House Bill: PRO: My son was put in an isolation room. If I had not been called by staff, I would not have known that my son was put in isolation. This bill will help with communication between schools and parents. We just want to know when our children are being restrained. Children who do not speak cannot tell their parents that they are being restrained at school. Abused children can be further traumatized by restraint mechanisms. We hear from families all the time that they just want to know if their kids are being restrained. We try to work with school districts on our kids' behavior. Many people do not know about restraints being used in schools. Kids who are severally disabled are sometimes put in isolation or have weights put on them. We do not like restraints period. There are other methods.

Persons Testifying: PRO: Kelly Church, Arc of Snohomish County; Susan Atkins, Arc of WA; Ramona Hattendorf, WA State Parent Teacher Assn.; Mary Griffin, Seattle Special Education Advisory and Advocacy Council; Helen Black, Carol Skinner, citizens.