New Jersey Senate Education Committee Chair Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, on Monday Dec. 19, 2022, praised the New Jersey Department of Education’s decision requiring local education agencies to begin collecting data concerning the use of restraint and seclusion techniques on students.
In September, Senator Gopal introduced S3027, which directed the DOE to begin collecting and reporting data on seclusion and restraint.
The DOE implementing that measure now means it will use the data collected to create a public database that will provide a comprehensive picture of how the controversial practices are being used in New Jersey.
“We’ve unfortunately been confronted with extremely disturbing stories of these techniques being misused and harming some of our most vulnerable students,” Gopal said in a press release Dec. 19. “It’s clear we need to take a hard look at the policies concerning the use of restraint and seclusion in schools, and to do that effectively, we need a thorough understanding of how these techniques are being used,” Gopal said, adding, “I’m encouraged that the DOE has elected to begin collecting seclusion and restraint data immediately. The sooner we start compiling data, the sooner we can begin taking steps to ensure all New Jersey students are protected and supported at school.”
The bill that Gopal introduced in September also includes measures to ensure parents of students are promptly notified when seclusion and restraint techniques are employed.
The bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Education Committee and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.