Cash authors bill to protect special education students

STATEHOUSE (Jan. 12, 2024) – State Rep. Becky Cash (R-Zionsville) during the 2024 legislative session is working to better protect Hoosier students in special education classrooms.

Cash authored House Bill 1073, which if passed, would require school corporations to have electronic recording equipment in each designated special education classroom, seclusion area, sensory room and time-out area by January 2025. The equipment would need to be active and recording when these areas are in use, and stored for at least 60 days. Hoosier parents would also be empowered to request and review recorded video footage.

“Unfortunately, students who receive special education services are most at risk for the misuse and overuse of seclusion, restraint and time away from instruction,” said Cash, a member of the House Education Committee. “This legislation would be a step forward in making sure our schools have the tools and guidance to protect all of our kids. As the mother of special needs children who’s worked with countless families and friends with children who have special needs, I’ll continue to advocate for our most vulnerable.”

Cash said she authored the bill after having conversations with The Arc of Indiana, education officials, and parents in her district and across the state about concerns that schools are inaccurately reporting how often they use restraint and seclusion.

The bill would also require each school corporation to have a behavioral interventionist. Cash said these individuals primarily work with children who have autism, autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disabilities. They receive training in assisting students with social skills, help with motor control for repetitive movements and are trained to reduce disruptive behaviors in the classroom.

According to Cash, House Bill 1073 would also require the Indiana Commission on Seclusion and Restraint to look for ways to eliminate or reduce the use of time-out in its model restraint and seclusion plan. The commission drafts rules to limit the use of seclusion and restraint, and creates a model plan for schools to use.

Under current Indiana law, these interventions should be used rarely and only as a last resort in situations where the safety of students or others is threatened.

House Bill 1073 is assigned to the House Education Committee for consideration. Watch session and committees live, and view legislation at iga.in.gov.

State Rep. Becky Cash (R-Zionsville) represents House District 25, which includes portions of Boone and Hendricks counties.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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