Letter, 1/5: Restraint bill too dangerous

Letter, 1/5: Restraint bill too dangerous

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I am a concerned citizen, president of The Arc of Nebraska, but most importantly, I am a mother. One of my children, Bradley, was born with a disability. This has led to a lifetime of struggling to ensure basic access to necessities. Health care, transportation, housing and even education presented many hurdles.

Now Sen. Mike Groene, along with the support of the Nebraska State Education Association, wants to create another barrier to a safe education. They are pushing LB147, a bill that allows for the use of physical restraint on a student.

The NSEA has been saying that this is a bill targeted towards protecting teachers from physically aggressive students. But research from the U.S. Department of Education tells a different story: “Though students with disabilities make up approximately 12 percent of the general student population, 71 percent of those restrained and 66 percent of those secluded were students with disabilities.”

They have also said that this increases safety. However, a study from Grafton Integrated Health showed that decreasing restraint usage 99% reduced staff injury 64%, saved $16 million and increased client life quality.

If Sen. Groene and the NSEA want to prevent violence, they must ensure the bill prevents prone restraint, clarifies emergency situations, prioritizes the individualized education plan (despite several claims it does not), limits restrictions to breathing or movement of the arms, prioritizes de-escalation, train staff and ensures tracking to start.

At the end of the day this is a bad bill. Please join me in protecting people with disabilities.

Julie Stahla, Grand Island

President, Arc of Nebraska board

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