LANSING, MI –
Michigan teachers could soon be charged with a crime if they use excessive restraint against misbehaving students.
There are guidelines for teachers to follow on how far a teacher can go to restrain an out-of-control student. A new bill in the state House would make those guidelines into law.
State Representative Deb Kennedy sponsored the bill. She says the law is necessary to insure the safety of students.
"This not only protects our students, but it also protects our teachers, because in 2003 there were actually two deaths of students in the state because of restraint practices," she says.
Kennedy says there are situations where teachers need to restrain students so they don't hurt themselves or others. But she says there needs to be punishments for teachers who go too far by tying children up or locking them in closets. She says children with autism and other learning disabilities often suffer excessive restraint practices more than other students.
School officials say they support the concept of the bill. They say it would not change policies or practices in most school districts.