on - Session - 126th Maine Legislature
Resolve, To Direct the Department of Education To Amend Its Rules Regarding Restraint of Students
Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, significant revisions to Department of Education Rule Chapter 33 governing the restraint and seclusion of students took effect July 1, 2012; and
Whereas, educators, administrators and parents have expressed concern with the limitations on the use of restraint and seclusion; and
Whereas, because Rule Chapter 33 is a major substantive rule, changes to the rule require legislative review before the changes may be made; and
Whereas, the Legislature has authority to direct the Department of Education to amend its rule to reflect legislative policy determinations; and
Whereas, educators and administrators need tools immediately to restore order to classrooms through limited additional uses of restraint or seclusion; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore, be it
Sec. 1. Amendment of rule. Resolved: That the Department of Education shall amend portions of Chapter 33: Rule Governing Physical Restraint and Seclusion as follows.
1. The rule must be amended in Section 2 to replace the definition of physical escort with language that provides that physical escort is temporary touching or holding for the purpose of inducing a student to walk to another location, including assisting the student to the student's feet in order to be escorted.
2. The rule must be amended to modify the threshold for the use of physical restraint as follows:
3. The rule must be amended in Section 2, subsection 16 to provide that physical restraint does not include a brief period of physical contact necessary to break up a fight.
4. The rule must be amended to require the Department of Education to ensure annually that teachers and administrators throughout the State are provided with consistent and accurate information regarding the requirements of Rule Chapter 33; and be it further
Sec. 2. Expedited amendment process. Resolved: That, notwithstanding the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 5, chapter 375, subchapters 2 and 2-A or any other law, the Department of Education shall amend its Rule Chapter 33: Rule Governing Physical Restraint and Seclusion as provided in this resolve and shall file the amended rule with the Secretary of State as a final amended rule within 7 business days of the effective date of this resolve. Rules adopted pursuant to this resolve are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A. Beginning July 1, 2013, any changes to Rule Chapter 33 are major substantive rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A; and be it further
Sec. 3. Report. Resolved: That the Department of Education, not later than January 10, 2014, shall submit a report to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs describing the effect of the changes required by this resolve. The Department of Education shall consult with relevant stakeholders and include feedback from these stakeholders in its report. The committee may submit a bill related to the report to the Second Regular Session of the 126th Legislature if the committee determines it is necessary to amend or adjust any language contained in this resolve; and be it further
Sec. 4. Nonregulatory guidance. Resolved: That the Department of Education shall, within 45 days of the effective date of the changes to Rule Chapter 33: Rule Governing Physical Restraint and Seclusion filed with the Secretary of State, develop non-regulatory guidance designed to provide accurate information to teachers and administrators regarding the requirements of the revised rule. The Department of Education shall submit a report detailing these training efforts to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs before the end of the Second Regular Session of the 126th Legislature.
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.
Top of Page