Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 1196
By: Truan
Public Education


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.  Senate Bill 1196 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. 


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. 


Senate Bill 1196 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. 


September 1, 2001.