Sen. Favola's Bills Sailing Through House Committees
SECLUSION AND RESTRAINT, APPLIED DIPLOMAS LEGISLATION ONE STEP CLOSER TO BECOMING LAW
Richmond, VA- Today, the House Education Committee voted overwhelmingly to report SB 782, a bill that requires the Board of Education to issue regulations on the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools. The bill’s patron, Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington), is vice-chair of the Virginia Commission on Youth, a group that recommended this legislation. Although guidelines for seclusion and restraint in Virginia have existed since 2004, only eighty schools have used them to adopt a policy. Thirty-two states have statutes addressing seclusion, restraint, or both.
After the full committee adjourned, the House Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee met and voted unanimously to report SB 1236, a bill also introduced by Senator Favola. SB 1236 eliminates the term “special diplomas” for students with IEPs and other challenges, and replaces it with “Applied Studies diplomas.” Students would have to complete an individualized education program to receive an Applied Studies diploma. Some find the term “special diploma” offensive, and advocates and educators have responded positively to changing the term.
Sen. Favola: “I am excited that these bills are one step closer to becoming law- SB 1236 helps special needs students be treated with the respect they deserve, and SB 782 protects children from unjust and unwarranted treatment in public schools. Both these bills protect vulnerable populations, and both these bills should land on the Governor’s desk.”
Last week SB 1236 passed the Senate unanimously. On January 27th SB 782 passed the Senate 35-4. The seclusion and restraint bill will now go to the House floor, and the “applied diploma” legislation will be heard in the full House Education Committee.
Senator Barbara A. Favola represents Virginia’s 31st district, which includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax Counties, and a portion of Loudoun County. For the 2015 session, Senator Favola sits on the Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Transportation Committees.