Educators Testify About Restraint Rules
Educators from around the state came together to share their stories with lawmakers of how the restrictive rules of restraint affect them in the classroom. The restraint rules, according to the new law, say an educator cannot physically restrain a child except in the case of what’s called “imminent danger to him/herself or someone else.” There is confusion on the part of education professionals as to what “imminent danger” means since it lacks clarity.
If restraint is used, that educator must file a paper report. The rules of restraint have led to many injuries of our educators, including a broken nose and knee damage. In addition, the rules have also resulted in classroom materials damaged and in some cases computers broken.
“Educators need to share the problems they are encountering with the rules at the Education Committee because the rules must be clarified to make them work. Educators can’t be left having to debate what is allowed when our students or staff may be in a risky situation,” said Lois Kilby-Chesley, teacher and President of the Maine Education Association.
Senator Tom Saviello from Wilton has introduced a bill, LD 243 an emergency resolve to direct the Department of Education to amend the rules regarding restraint. “We need our educators to focus on teaching again. I am hopeful this bill will allow them to do that while keeping both our students and staff safe in the classroom. I want teachers to teach!” said Sen. Saviello, (R-Wilton).
The Restraints and Seclusion Law passed in the 125th session is prompting the testimony being given during the Education Committee public hearing. The classroom stories prove in many instances the law is not working. Educators are spending three days at the capital where they hope to lobby lawmakers on the key issues facing our public schools today, including lack of funding, school safety for educators and students, and the need for continued community support of public schools.
"We want to remind our lawmakers that as they continue to cut public school funding and pass new laws affecting our classrooms there are real consequences for our students. As a teacher I understand the deep impact of these decisions first hand. We want to make sure our representatives and senators understand it too," said Grace Leavitt, a National Board Certified Spanish teacher in SAD 51 and vice-president of the MEA.
Media Coverage on Restraint Rule Testimony