Autistic boy put in duffel bag at school as punishment highlights need for national protections

A recent article by the Associated Press in Louisville, KY demonstrates the importance of legislation to prevent schoolchildren from being abused as a result of inappropriate uses of restraint and seclusion, often involving untrained staff:

A 9-year-old autistic boy who misbehaved at school was stuffed into a duffel bag and the drawstring pulled tight, according to his mother, who said she found him wiggling inside as a teacher's aide stood by.

The mother of fourth-grader Christopher Baker said her son called out to her when she walked up to him in the bag Dec. 14. The case has spurred an online petition calling for the firing of school employees responsible.

"He was treated like trash and thrown in the hallway," Chris' mother, Sandra Baker, said Thursday. She did not know how exactly how long he had been in the bag, but probably not more than 20 minutes.

In April, Rep. George Miller (D-CA) introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act, bipartisan legislation that would put in place minimum safety standards to prevent abusive restraint and seclusion in schools across the country and protect students like Christopher from abuse.

The Keeping All Students Safe Act was spurred by a 2009 investigation by the U.S. Government Accountability Office that was requested by Miller, which uncovered hundreds of allegations that schoolchildren have been abused, and some even died, as a result of inappropriate uses of seclusion and restraint in classrooms