Lauren Book seeks to limit use of mechanical restraints on students with disabilities
Image via Colin Hackley.

'The use of restraints can be traumatizing for children and should only be used as a last resort.'

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book is looking to further limit the use of restraints on students with disabilities with a bill introduced ahead of the 2022 Legislative Session.

The measure follows legislation approved during the 2021 Session. Book’s bill this year (SB 390) would block all non-law enforcement or security personnel from using mechanical restraints on students with disabilities. That would fully block teachers, counselors and other non-safety personnel from using such measures.

Book’s legislation states the ban “does not apply to school resource officers, school safety officers, school guardians, or school security guards … who may use mechanical restraint in the exercise of their powers and duties to restrict students in grades 6 through 12.

Approved legislation last year limits the use of seclusion and restraint techniques as a punitive measure against students with disabilities. The new law only allows such practices to protect students or personnel and only after all other options have failed. Seclusion or restraint can no longer be used as a purely disciplinary measure.

Book, a Plantation Democrat, fought for the bill in recent years before earning approval last Session. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed that bill into law in June.

Now, the Senate Democratic Leader is looking to expand those protections by cracking down on mechanical restraints, which she points out can cause bleeding or bone fractures.

“Students deserve to be safe at school, and parents deserve peace of mind,” Book said in a written statement announcing the new legislation.

“The use of restraints can be traumatizing for children and should only be used as a last resort — we know there’s a better way. This policy builds on the great progress we made last year, as we work to make sure Florida classrooms are as safe as possible for students with disabilities.”

This year’s legislation also touches up some of the language in last year’s bill. Rather than lay out the types of restraint limited to protect the safety of others — such as straight jackets, zip ties or handcuffs — Book’s bill states that any “physical restraint” is subject to those limitations.

The new language also states such procedures “must” be stopped “as soon as the threat posed by the dangerous behavior has dissipated.” Last year’s bill stated the use of restraint “shall” be stopped in those circumstances. The use of “shall” in legislation has typically been used synonymously with the word “must,” but Book’s change aims to make the language clearer.

So far, no House members have introduced a companion measure.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • Barry Flynch

    October 4, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    There should a limit on Lauren Book’s abuse of restraining order laws to silence her critics. I think reparations are in order to compensate the man Lauren Book victimized with her abuse of power.

    • Jerry Reaves

      October 5, 2021 at 1:09 pm

      Who did Lauren Book victimize?

      • Free Waldy

        October 7, 2021 at 10:46 pm

        The entire stare of FloriDUH

  • vaughn

    October 5, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    NC we had a 5 year old autistic child placed in a 4X4 padded area with a unlocked door that had a window but child was not allow to leave to family member got there, form states child was in this area for 55 mins. I dont care if you are democrat or republician. I back this bill

Comments are closed.


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