INKSTER — Last Friday, state Representative Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights) hosted legislators from around the state on a tour of the Burger Baylor School for Students with Autism in Inkster. Among the attendees were state Rep. Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park) and state Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), co-chairs of the legislative Disabilities Awareness Caucus, who attended the tour to learn more about the use of restraint and seclusion in special education center based programs.

“It was a great experience having legislators and staff from around the state come to my district for this very informative tour,” said Plawecki. “After introducing this legislation, they were able to again see how these policy changes would impact schools. This is a very important part of the legislative process, and I commend them for attending this tour.”

“The use of restraint and seclusion is an incredibly sensitive issue. The reforms we are proposing could have some fairly large implications on all Michigan schools,” said Liberati. “So before we make changes to the bills, Senator Jones and I wanted to make sure that we were aware of the challenges that staff members face in the classroom. In my mind, this package is about the balance between safety and a student’s dignity.”

The Special Education Reform Task Force, chaired by Lt. Governor Brian Calley, recommended reforms to the governor last month. Included in the recommendations were to restrict the use of restraint and seclusion to specified emergency situations. Liberati and Jones are currently working on a package of bills that would put the task force’s recommendation into action.