From the Tennessee Disability Coalition, a blog post by Todd Hash (February 2010):
In this post, Todd makes these key points regarding the proposed bill allowing special education students in Tennessee to be placed in locked isolation rooms as a means of discipline/control:
1. This bill would make it legal to lock special education students---of any age or diagnosis---in isolation at risk to their health and safety.
2. This bill contradicts health and safety codes that prohibit locking students in an educational facility without a way out.
3. With a locked door, a student is trapped with no mechanism to call for help if they are forgotten by school personnel.
4. This bill places all special education students at risk of locked isolation.
Then Todd adds: "This would undo years of work that outlawed locking students with Autism, Down Syndrome, ADHD, and other disabilities in isolation rooms."
I am a pretty easy-going gal, but let me tell you, if anyone ever tried to lock Hopey or Charlie in an isolation room for any reason, there would be heck to pay. Non-vocal, Hope and Charlie would not have the ability to tell me about being locked up; and in addition, they would not have the ability to understand why they were being mistreated. This would not be discipline, this would be abuse! How many Hope and Charlie cases are in Tennessee? How many children would be victimized by reckless legislation such as this?
"Whatever you do for the LEAST OF THESE, you do it for Me." As believers, Jesus instructs us to take care of the disabled, not put them in restraints and lock them in isolation. This bill has been the catalyst for my running for State Senate in my district. Our current senator, Johnson, is the one who proposed the latest bill: 2517. As you are aware, I was too late to enter as a party candidate and get on the November ballot, so I am the grassroots write-in candidate flying in on a wing and a prayer. How in the world am I going to get thousands of district 23 residents to go to the polls and WRITE my name on a ballot??? God help me.
I spent the day ordering political business cards, post cards, etc. I am way out of my league in this effort, but I have a burning passion inside of me that is pushing me to stand and be a voice for the LEAST OF THESE. When looking through the slew of bills in Tennessee this afternoon, I also found a couple of proposed bills that appear to make the adoption process MORE bogged down than it already is in TN. Hello? Why do our legislators not understand that our Foster Care system is already so overloaded with cases that neglected children are falling through the cracks each day? As an adoptive mom, this is another hot bed issue for me. Where is the common sense, and where is the compassion?
Please feel free to give me advice of any kind. If you have contacts that would benefit me in this monumental effort, I want to know about them. If you have ideas, I want to hear them. If you know Sarah Palin, please get me in touch with her (smile). How about a country music star that has a heart for the special needs community or adoption community? That would be amazing. Thank you for all the supportive emails and prayers. My journey with Hope has taken me alot of places....I praise the Lord for choosing me to be her momma (and Charlie's too).
Hope, Charlie, and momma bear are gonna take the fight to 'em.