Sample Maine e-mail

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Sample letter to e-mail list owners

e-mail to groups asking them to have their members to contact their rep:

Hi [insert group name here] Team,

Can you share the following e-mail with your members and others?

This issue is now before the Maine Senate and will come to vote soon. It's especially important for children on the autism spectrum and other special needs.

Let me know if you have any questions or need more information.

Thanks,

[your name]

Sample letter to lists

Subject: Contact The State Senators and Reps to Protect New Rules on Restraint and Seclusion

This school year, the State of Maine updated the regulations covering the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools. The updated rules, called Chapter 33 (see: http://www.maine.gov/doe/school-safety/restraints/index.html), end the use of restraint and seclusion as "therapy". They also include effective new procedures for helping children feel safe at school.

Now, a bill is in the Maine Senate (SP 79) to roll back the improvments. This bill allows restraint or seclusion "to prevent disruption of the educational environment." http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=SP0079&item=1&snum=126

Please contact your state representative and senator today and ask them to protect the updated Chapter 33. Below is a sample e-mail you can use.

Contact information your reprsentative is here: http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/townlist.htm

Thanks,

[your name and group or use PAPPI as the group Parents and Professionals for Positive Interventions http://wiki.laptop.org/go/PAPPI]

Sample e-mail to legislators

Dear [insert rep or senators name here]

I am writing to ask your support for the updated Chapter 33 governing on the use of physical restraint and seclusion in Maine schools. The new rules make a big difference for all kids, especially children with special needs.

Restraint and seclusion create a huge risk for injury to the child and adults involved. They also create psychological problems, including trauma, in young children. Children can learn their caregivers will place them in ‘scary’ situations and they can associate school with invasive and traumatic experiences.

Restraint and seclusion have no therapeutic benefit. When children’s behaviors don't improve, teachers may use more forceful behavior-control procedures. When such procedures become routine, the risk of abuse is dramatically heightened.

The alternative, positive behavioral intervention and support (see http://www.pbis.org/) has been proven effective in school systems around the country. PBIS improves the school environment for all children.

The updated Chapter 33 was created to help all people feel safe in Maine schools.

A new bill has been introduced in the Maine Senate (SP 79) which would roll back the improvements. It allows restraint or seclusion "to prevent disruption of the educational environment." I urge you to vote against passage of SP 79 and instead support training to fully implement Chapter 33 as updated.

Thank you,

[your name and address]


An additional sample letter is being written. Current draft is below: Dear Honorable Members of the Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs,

I’m writing to you about my concerns in the proposed emergency resolve LD 243. I support the work recently accomplished to update Chapter 33, rules governing the use of physical restraint and seclusion. The new rules make a big difference to protect the safety and well-being of all individuals in Maine schools, especially for children with special needs. It’s important the intent of the rule is protected and any changes to the rule are made with safety in mind.

Restraint and seclusion have no therapeutic or educational benefit and are highly dangerous interventions. When children’s behaviors don't improve, teachers may use more forceful behavior-control procedures. When such procedures become routine, the risk for harm for all is dramatically heightened.

The alternative, positive behavioral intervention and support (see http://www.pbis.org/) has been proven effective in school systems around the country. PBIS improves the school environment for all teachers, children, and their families.

In regards to the specific changes as proposed LD 243, if school staff uses any kind of physical force with a student, including moving a student by force, it should be labeled a physical restraint. This action should be accountable by documenting it, staff should notify parents about it, staff should be trained to do it safely and staff should be trained to always try less intrusive, more positive interventions first.

And, I specifically oppose changing Ch 33 to allow the use of physical restraint to prevent disruption to the educational environment. If you do make this change, for safety sake, please make sure there is a clear definition that outlines a specific list for when it is allowable. It’s so important that the use of restraint and seclusion is limited to protect the safety of all individuals in Maine schools, and school staff always try less intrusive, more positive interventions first. . Thank you for your consideration. Send here:

Sen Rebecca Millett (D-Cumberland County) co-chair senrebeccamillett@gmail.com Sen Christopher Johnson (D-Lincoln County) chris@dirigo.net Sen Brian Langley (R-Hancock County) langley4legislature@myfairpoint.net Rep Bruce MacDonald (D-Boothbay) co-chair bmacdon@roadrunner.com Rep Mary Pennell Nelson (D-Falmouth) mpn3@maine.rr.com Rep Helen Rankin (D-Hiram) rankin8076@roadrunner.com Rep Matthea Elisabeth Larsen Daughtry (D-Brunswick) mattie@mattiedaughtry.com Rep Brian Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor) RepBrian.Hubbell@legislature.maine.gov Rep Victoria Kornfield (D-Bangor) RepTori.Kornfield@legislature.maine.gov Rep Peter Johnson (R-Greenville) rumridge27@gmail.com Rep Joyce Maker (R-Calais) gjmaker@gmail.com Rep Michael McClellan (R-Raymond) mmcclell@maine.rr.com Rep Matthew Pouliot (R-Augusta) mpouliot57@gmail.com Rep Madonna Soctomah (Passamaquoddy Tribe) Sipayik@midmaine.com


---

Note: this was adapted from the Issue Brief found here: http://www.challengingbehavior.org/do/resources/documents/brief_preventing.pdf

Note: top priority contacts are members of the education committee:
Sen Rebecca Millett (D-Cumberland County) co-chair
SenRebecca.Millett@legislature.maine.gov
Sen Christopher Johnson (D-Lincoln County) chris@dirigo.net
Sen Brian Langley (R-Hancock County) langley4legislature@myfairpoint.net
Rep Bruce MacDonald (D-Boothbay) co-chair bmacdon@roadrunner.com
Rep Mary Pennell Nelson (D-Falmouth) mpn3@maine.rr.com
Rep Helen Rankin (D-Hiram) rankin8076@roadrunner.com
Rep Matthea Elisabeth Larsen Daughtry (D-Brunswick) mattie@mattiedaughtry.com
Rep Brian Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor) RepBrian.Hubbell@legislature.maine.gov
Rep Victoria Kornfield (D-Bangor) RepTori.Kornfield@legislature.maine.gov
Rep Peter Johnson (R-Greenville) rumridge27@gmail.com
Rep Joyce Maker (R-Calais) gjmaker@gmail.com
Rep Michael McClellan (R-Raymond) mmcclell@maine.rr.com
Rep Matthew Pouliot (R-Augusta) mpouliot57@gmail.com
Rep Madonna Soctomah (Passamaquoddy Tribe) Sipayik@midmaine.com

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