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Wisconsin Senate to vote on new student restraint guidelines (UPDATE)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Senate passed a bill Tuesday supported by disability rights advocates and parents that would establish more procedures for when schools restrain students or place them in seclusion.

Disability-rights advocates called for improvements to the law after a study found in 2014 that 80% of the students placed in restraints or in seclusion have a disability. The existing law, passed in 2011, only allows for a student to be physically restrained if they pose an imminent risk to others’ safety.

The bill passed Tuesday would change how such incidents are reported and tracked. Under the proposal, the state Department of Public Instruction would be required to track the incidences and schools would have to inform parents if their student were ever secluded or restrained. The proposal also would require additional training for school staff workers on how to calm students before they become violent.

The legislation has bipartisan support. It cleared the Senate on a voice vote with no debate. It still must pass the state Assembly and be signed by Gov. Tony Evers before becoming law.

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