Rep. Jim Smith
SANTA FE – This afternoon, the Senate approved House Bill 75, a bill to limit the use of restraint and seclusion techniques in schools. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Smith (R-Bernalillo, Sandoval and Santa Fe), passed on a bipartisan 30 to 4 vote.
House Bill 75 specifies conditions when restraining and seclusion techniques may be permitted in schools, and it requires New Mexico’s public schools to adopt policies and procedures for the use of restraint and seclusion techniques in their school safety plans. The bill also requires that schools develop procedures for documenting incidents when a student was restrained or secluded and notify the student’s parent or guardian if these techniques were applied to their child.
The bill makes clear that restraint and seclusion techniques may only be applied when the student’s behavior endangers the physical well-being of the student or other students and less restrictive measures would be insufficient to mitigate the situation. Supporters of the bill include the New Mexico Autism Society, New Mexico Public Education Department, NEA and AFT, National Association of Social Workers of New Mexico, NM Center on Law and Poverty and Disability Rights New Mexico.
“This bill seeks to support teachers and protect students. The provisions of this bill will help teachers manage volatile situations in their classrooms by providing guidance and procedures,” Smith said. “I have been working on this issue for years, and I am excited to see this bill finally go to Gov. Martinez for her signature.”
House Bill 75 will now be sent to Gov. Susana Martinez for action.