World
Virginia Passes Bill to Rein in Restraints of School Kids
Many schools in the state still have no policies or rules around pinning kids down
 
Virginia lawmakers have passed a bill requiring state leaders to set limits on how public schools can restrain or isolate students.
 
Last summer, ProPublica and NPR reported that new federal data showed the practices – which can include pinning down or tying up students or locking them alone in dark rooms – were used more than 267,000 times nationwide in the 2012 school year. Hundreds of children are injured each year and at least 20 have died as a result.
 
Our story featured an autistic boy, Carson Luke, who had his hand and foot broken while being forced into a seclusion room at a Virginia public school for students with disabilities. His mother, Heather, testified at a recent state hearing on the bill. She said she's "tickled" about the legislation "because I can tell Carson that the people of Virginia listened to him and they're trying to take care of the kids."
 
The bill was passed unanimously by Virginia's House late last week and now moves to the desk of Gov. Terry McAuliffe. It requires the state education board to adopt regulations that follow federal guidelines.
 
State Board of Education President Christian Braunlich said last month that the board wouldn't wait for the legislative process to wrap up and instead would begin drafting new regulations in February. "We frankly don't think we ought to wait on it," he said.
 
Virginia's education department last updated its guidelines on restraint and seclusion in 2009 and encouraged local school systems to adopt similar policies. But the agency did not make its recommendations mandatory.
 
Nearly a quarter of Virginia's school systems that responded to a survey last year said they have no policies at all on restraint or seclusion. Fifteen said they did not train staff at all on handling a crisis with an agitated student. 
 
Last year, federal education officials took two Virginia public schools in Prince William County, southwest of Washington, D.C., to task for restraining and isolating students too frequently.
 
"The parents came forward and said, 'look, the schools are basically doing whatever they want,'" said state Sen. Barbara Favola, the Arlington Democrat who introduced the bill in the Senate.
 
"The real sad part of this is the children who are most apt to suffer from seclusion and restraint practices may be on the autism scale," she said. "These children do not understand why they are being punished and it is not rehabilitative."
 
A federal bill seeking to restrict restraints has languished for years. The U.S. Department of Education issued guidelines seeking to reduce the tactics' use, but made them voluntary. States have passed a patchwork of regulation. As a result, dangerous techniques like facedown, prone restraints – which can cause asphyxiation – are illegal in some places but routinely used in others.
 
Both advocates and opponents of regulation agree that restraints should rare. But the American Association of School Administrators and others have opposed legislation say restrictions would hamstring school personnel trying to make the best decisions possible in difficult circumstances.
 
Related stories: For more, read our investigation into the widespread use of restraints at public schools across the country. And meet the players fighting to keep the tactics legal.
 
 
 

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Moneylife Foundation: Five years on..
Moneylife Foundation has completed FIVE years. Five years in which it has established a strong fan following
 
You may like it, you may not- but Moneylife is there, making an impact on investors and regulators. I would like to think that if any investor were to sit in a corner, with every published issue of Moneylife magazine, it would be a full journey in investor education; and some more. And when it comes to taking on the regulators, I do not believe that any other publication is as forthright or forthcoming as Moneylife is. The launch of the Moneylife Foundation was a momentous one. 
 
I have been privileged to know Debashis and Sucheta and am glad that they have deemed it fit to let me ramble on in the magazine right from the first issue. Surely, a pleasure, a privilege and at times, a bit stressful, as I keep searching for a topic, and finally push it to Debashish and Sucheta for making sure that my communication is fair and proper and fit for reading.
 
In these five years, NEVER once have either of them told me to change my view, even if it be at odds with a stance they have taken in the magazine. And the freedom they have given me is without boundaries. I respect them for that. 
 
I must also mention the pain that they must be going through each time I push in my contribution at the eleventh (sometimes thirteenth) hour- unedited, full of errors, grammar haywire and disjointed. In the twelfth hour, they piece it together. Often, after seeing my article in print, I am surprised at the way the words flow and my article makes sense, even to me. Thanks, Debashish and Sucheta, for putting up with the spiel that I often send you, and making it look intelligent.
 
We generally have a tendency to remember only the latest. However, going back these five years, I look at several things that Moneylife pioneered. Honest to God interviews with fantastic achievers (not possible to name one in a galaxy that had stars like Dr Mashelkar, Glen Saldanha, Hafeez Contractor et al). And more importantly, to me, the choice of subjects and people always justified both halves of the magazine’s name. It was never just finance.
 
On the day of the launch, I recall a promise that was made by Sucheta and Debashis- Moneylife will not be like other magazines which presume that every reader is from the financial markets and use terms and jargons that leave us all scrambling for Google (more likely that we switch off after some time). And I believe that this promise has not been breached. Yes, sometimes, I have been guilty of using some ‘hifi’ terms which have left the common reader stumped- my apologies for that.
 
Some of my friends tell me that there is too much ‘negativism’ in the magazine. To them, I say that the financial regulations and markets have taken a heavy toll on investors. Scams and chicanery are second nature to the financial markets. In such markets, a strong voice is needed. To keep regulators alert and also to warn and educate investors and would be investors. From the first issue, Moneylife has fought battles for the investors.
 
I can go on.. For me, each issue has been one to look forward to. I must also say that Moneylife has received bouquets, but no bouquet is complete without a fair number of brickbats. In this journey, it is perhaps natural that the brickbats sometimes outweigh the bouquet. It is not my aim to please everyone, but to tell the truth. And of course, some will dispute the truth. I normally check my sources and based on my experiences, have a fair knowledge of what is reliable and what is not. Agree, not infallible, but works nine out of ten times. 
 
And all these are continuing without selling space and words for money. Yes, money is needed for all the seminars and the financial retrieval that is done for the members. A lot of good people have realised the contribution of Moneylife in today’s world of financial chicanery and kept the flame alive. I exhort everyone to give. Especially those who have gained from intervention of Moneylife can spread the word.
 
The team at Moneylife is also fantastic. Too many to name, but there are many who work quietly and ensure that the curtain rises in time, for each and every show.
 
The best to team Moneylife
 
Five is just a number and many more fives will touch Moneylife. 
 
A “Hi Five” to everyone ...
 
Cheers
 
Bala

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COMMENTS

Santosh Kanekar

2 years ago

Mr Balakrishnan,

As an avid subscriber and fan of Moneylife, I completely endorse the principles and the approach the magazine stands for.

However, in the spirit of candidness, the article headline is Moneylife Foundation and the article goes on about the magazine. I was expecting an honest appraisal of the Foundation Events.

My 2 bit: the Deemed conveyance and the Passport (especially the moneylife campaign for passport office ) is phenomenal and one of the best value.

Narendra Doshi

2 years ago

Dear Bala,
I entered ML after 2nd year. Yet, I am doubly sure that the above contents are in the hearts of many moneylife lovers.
My own best wishes for this torch to continue burning.

Vaibhav Dhoka

2 years ago

Cheers for completing FIVE educative and informative supportive years.Investors reading magazine has ray of light in present day where most regulators behave as Deaf & Dumb.Long years to LEAD.

Budget and Senior Citizens

Will FM remove the current anomalies that affect taxation for senior citizens?

 

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