Jefferson City – The ACLU of Missouri celebrates the bipartisan work of the Missouri legislature which passed critical reforms limiting the use of restraint and seclusion in Missouri schools. These efforts will disrupt the school to prison pipeline and protect students' Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Yesterday, HB 432 passed with overwhelming support in the Missouri House and now heads to Governor Parson’s desk.
Beyond deterring the abuse and overuse of these practices, this bill will promote greater transparency and communication between schools and families by compelling school districts to notify parents or guardians within one hour after school when their children have been subjected to restraint or seclusion. The legislation will ensure that all instances of restraint and seclusion are tracked and that staff receives appropriate training. In recent studies, Missouri’s students with disabilities were 27 times more likely to be subjected to seclusion compared to their non-IDEA peers. Black students were more than twice as likely as their White classmates to be subjected to physical or mechanical restraint and nearly three times more likely to be subjected to seclusion.
HB 432 became a bipartisan vehicle for this reform, carrying legislation originally sponsored by Representative Dottie Bailey (R) and Representative Ian Mackey (D). These measures will ensure that parents are fully informed and better able to advocate for their child’s safety and wellbeing. For years, the ACLU of Missouri has championed research and advocacy on Missouri’s school to prison pipeline to educate legislators and the public on this important issue. The ACLU of Missouri offers Know Your Rights Workshops for parents, educators, and students who wish to become advocates and hosts its pipelineofinjustice.org website to provide resources and reports to community members.
Sara Baker, Legislative and Policy Director for the ACLU of Missouri stated, “These reforms uphold our belief that justice does not stop at the schoolhouse door. Students have clear rights that must be protected. Missouri has an obligation to provide educational opportunities for all students, free of fear and discrimination.”