HBA-JEK C.S.H.B. 692 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 692 By: Hochberg Public Education 3/27/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE A number of schools in Texas, including special education schools, use a practice referred to as "seclusion" or "seclusionary time-out" to isolate children exhibiting inappropriate behavior. This technique isolates a child in a space away from the rest of his or her class. In the absence of state guidelines, however, seclusionary practices have been used inappropriately in some schools, and incidents of children locked in unlit, unventilated rooms have surfaced. Inappropriate use of seclusion can have detrimental effects on children, especially special education students. C.S.H.B. 692 amends the Education Code to prohibit the confinement of a student with a disability in a locked box, closet, or other special room and prohibits a school district employee or volunteer from placing a student in seclusion. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the commissioner of education in SECTION 1 (Section 37.0021, Education Code) of this bill. ANALYSIS C.S.H.B. 692 amends the Education Code to prohibit a student with a disability from being confined in a locked box, closet, or other specially designed space as either a discipline management practice or a behavior management technique. The bill prohibits a district employee, volunteer, or independent contractor of a district from placing any student in seclusion. The prohibition on seclusion does not apply to a facility to which the federal Children's Health Act of 2000, local mental health authority 24-hour care licensing rules applies. The bill requires the commissioner by rule to adopt procedures for the use of restraint and time-out for a student receiving special education services, and sets forth requirements for the procedures that must be adopted. The bill specifies that such a rule adopted by the commissioner will prevail if it conflicts with a special education program rule. The bill does not prevent a student's locked, unattended confinement in an emergency situation while awaiting the arrival of law enforcement personnel if the student possesses a weapon and the confinement is necessary to prevent the student from causing bodily harm to the student or another person. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 692 differs from the original by prohibiting a student with a disability from being confined in a locked box, closet, or other specially designed space as a discipline management practice or a behavior management technique, while the original prohibited school districts and open-enrollment charter schools from placing any student for any period of time in a room or other confined area where the student is alone and is prohibited from leaving. C.S.H.B. 692 requires the commissioner by rule to adopt procedures for the use of restraint and time-out for a student receiving special education services, and prohibits a school district employee or volunteer from placing a student in seclusion. The substitute provides exceptions, including if the student possesses a weapon.