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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Unshackle patients

Put an end to unnecessary restraints
By Dr. Joanne Eichinger via Cheryl Dowdell

The Rhode Island legislature is currently considering a bill, H-6088, that would curtail a serious problem for the disabled by regulating the use of restraints and curb their misuse. Local state Representative Larry Valencia (D) is the lead co-sponsor of the bill.

The bill is currently being held in the House Judiciary Committee.

With only a little time left, we urge you to contact your state representatives and senators to ask them to pass this bill before this session of the General Assembly ends.

Students with disabilities are disproportionately restrained or secluded in school settings. Restraint is a nation-wide problem that often causes injuries, some of them deadly.

Five months ago, Ethan Saylor, a 26-year-old man with Down syndrome, died while being restrained by mall security officers. Ethan had attended a movie at a local theater in Maryland. When Ethan verbally refused to leave the theater after the movie ended, and while his support staff had gone to get their car, mall security was called, and Ethan was restrained face-down, resulting in death (

Recently, California Representative George Miller re-introduced legislation that would prohibit unnecessary restraint and seclusion (HR 1893 - The Keeping All Students Safe Act). Also, there is a new national campaign to educate people about restraint and to call people to enlist their help to stop unnecessary restraint.

Please take a few minutes to add your voice through the following simple steps:

1. Click on

2. Click on "take action".

3. Click on "contact Congress" and sign the petition to support the Keeping All Students Safe Act.

PLEASE share this information with your friends, family members, and colleagues throughout the country. Encourage them to voice their support of the Keeping All Students Safe Act.

If you have more time, you can join the campaign under the "take action" link. You will be notified every week of a specific thing you can do to support this cause.

There is a newly released 27-minute film ("Restraint and Seclusion: Hear our Stories"), which you can watch by clicking on "the film" link. One story is told by a friend, Wil Beaudoin, a RI resident who talks about the repeated restraint his son, Andre, now 22, received.

Additional information can be found on