I had to do a doubletake when I read this headline today. Florida lawmakers are in the early stages of making it a law to prevent teachers from putting kids in handcuffs or a straightjacket. Becuase yes, as of now, that is indeed legal! According to the Florida Phoenix, Florida law states that teachers can only use such things “if they pose a serious risk to themselves or others as long as all other forms of behavioral intervention methods have been exhausted.” The law also states that once the situation has calmed down that the devices have to be removed.
Let me say how much I admire our teachers. They work too hard and get paid too little. The stress level must be incredible especially when you have those kids in class with parents who’ve never employed any discipline. I would not have the patience to do what they do. But straightjackets and handcuffs? Yeesh. In some extreme scenarios, you can understand taking extreme measures. We’ve had far too many shootings in our schools over the past few decades.
The Florida Department of Education reports 43 instances of teaches using some kind of “mechanical restraint” on students during the 2020-2021 school year. That bill to prohibit teachers from using instruments like handcuffs, zip ties and straightjackets passed unanimously in a roll call vote. Now it goes to the House and Senate to get approval. The law would NOT apply to school security guards and safety personnel. [Source: Florida Phoenix]