Reports of such incidents should be “minuscule,” said Maureen Fitzgerald, director of disability rights at the Arc, which advocates for people with disabilities. Fitzgerald said when abuses occur, it’s usually because workers aren’t properly trained.
“They are put in situations where they’re not trained, they don’t have the support they need and things get out of control because they don’t know how to manage the kids, and they do whatever they can to keep everybody calm and safe … and that’s when people start getting hurt,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald’s organization is among several disability organizations seeking passage of a bill by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, that would prohibit the use of seclusion and allow restraints only in emergency situations and until the danger of serious bodily injury has passed. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., has a similar bill in the House. Legislation to address the issue sponsored by Miller passed in 2010 but failed to get out of the Senate.