RALEIGH — A Richmond Senior High School graduate and the mother of a disabled child made her plea for cameras in special education classrooms to a panel of lawmakers and advocates last week.
Katrina Hayes, a Cumberland County resident, gave testimony in a mock legislative hearing held in the state legislative building on July 26. Hayes made the presentation through Partners in Policymaking, a leadership and advocacy training program for self-advocates and parents of school-aged children funded by the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities.
In her testimony, Hayes spoke about the need to broaden the existing seclusion and restraint statute to include the definition of restraint including chemical restraint and the need for cameras in special education classrooms.
“I’m Katrina Hayes from Cumberland County, and remember, cameras in the classroom,” Hayes implored in her closing.
Panelists were Betty Jo Shepheard, a field staff representative for U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, state Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, state Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, D-Wilson, Joshua Strasburg of the N.C. Council on Disabilities, Larry Searcy, a program speaker and expert and Partners in Policymaking graduates.
Hayes said the testimony moved Farmer-Butterfield and she committed to following up on the issues that the 20 Partners in Policymaking participants raised.
A former majority whip, Farmer-Butterfield is vice chairwoman of the House Health and Services Committee. She is expected to win her seventh term in the General Assembly this November after defeating Wilson attorney Mark Bibbs in the Democratic primary. She does not face a Republican opponent in the race.
Michaux, a long-serving lawmaker who was elected to 17 terms, sits on the House education committee and education appropriations subcommittee.
Hayes said she plans to follow up with state legislators to lobby for a seclusion and restraint bill in next year’s session.
Hayes is a parent of a child with a developmental disability and founder and operator of Speak Up! Special Education Advocacy Services.
For more information on the organization, email Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on Partners in Policymaking leadership and advocacy training and for information about the formation of the next class, go to http://www.nc-ddc.org/partners/index.html.