What They’re Saying: The Keeping All Students Safe Act
WASHINGTON- The most current data reveals that 101,990 students were subjected to seclusion or restraint in the United States during the 2017-18 school year, 78 percent of whom were students with disabilities and disproportionately Black boys. Representatives Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.), Chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Don Beyer (D-Va.) and A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) and Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) reintroduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act, legislation to protect students from dangerous seclusion and restraint discipline practices in school.
Here’s what leading education and disability groups and advocates are saying about the bill:
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates: "The Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA) comes at an important intersection in our nation’s history – where the abuses toward children, including children of color and those with disabilities have created a need and impetus to prohibit seclusion and set forth minimum standards for states in the use of physical restraint. For too long, the injuries, lifelong trauma and even death of vulnerable Black students, boys, and students with disabilities through these practices have been ignored. We are a modern nation that has developed evidence-based practices that can help. It is critical that school leaders and teachers receive the resources and training they need to make school climates’ positive and conducive to learning; where students have what they need to learn and can build trusting relationships with school personnel. KASSA makes this possible,” said Denise Marshall, CEO.
National Disability Rights Network: “No child in America should have to attend a school where being locked in a room alone or suffocated while being restrained is part of a school’s standard operating procedure. KASSA establishes minimum safety standards for all children to help ensure?equal opportunity and?full participation?in school for students with?disabilities?who are disproportionately subjected to restraint and seclusion,” said Executive Director Curt Decker.
TASH: "TASH strongly supports the Keeping All Students Safe Act and applauds Senators Murray and Murphy and Representatives Scott, Beyer and McEachin for their leadership. We are especially glad that this legislation would prohibit the unlawful use of seclusion and restraint in federally funded educational programs, is grounded in evidence-based practice and includes funding to support state planning and oversight. Indeed, we know that positive behavioral interventions and supports are effective alternatives that produce much better results for students and schools. TASH encourages passage of this landmark legislation that will result in safer environments and better outcomes for all students including those with disabilities,” said Michael Brogioli, Executive Director.
National Center for Learning Disabilities: "Every child has the right to feel safe at school. And yet, for decades, seclusion and physical restraint have been inappropriately used to punish students with disabilities and students of color at alarming rates. These harmful practices have no place in our public schools, proving traumatic and even fatal for students. The introduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act is essential to putting standards in place to ensure every child is educated in a safe and positive environment," said Meghan Whittaker, Director of Policy & Advocacy.
Center for Learner Equity: “The Center for Learner Equity thanks our Congressional champions for the introduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act which would end the harmful practice of seclusion and significantly restrict the use of physical restraint in schools. We know that students thrive when schools commit to employing a holistic approach to behavior, and this bill would help teachers and school leaders gain access to training in proactive, evidence-based strategies that are centered on such an approach, protecting students from the abuses of seclusion and restraint. We look forward to helping ensure that this bill becomes law,” said Lauren Morando Rhim, Co-founder and Executive Director.
Autistic Self Advocacy Network: “ASAN commends Congress for its reintroduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA). KASSA would ban almost all kinds of restraint and all kinds of seclusion across all 50 states, and would require school districts to collect data to prevent further use of these harmful practices. We urge Congress to move swiftly to pass this long-overdue legislation. … Restraint and seclusion are incredibly traumatic practices, and can kill or injure students on whom they are used. They are disproportionately used on students with disabilities and students of color. Restraint and seclusion are part of the systematic marginalization and removal of children of color, children with disabilities, and especially children of color with disabilities from school. This is also called the ‘school-to-prison pipeline.’ Ending the use of restraint and seclusion would save lives, prevent abuse, and make our schools safer and more equitable.”
Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint: “Today the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA) will be re-introduced. in both houses of congress. We sincerely thank Representatives Beyer, McEachin, Chairman Scott, Senator Murphy, and Chair Murray, for supporting this critical legislation. … . Our schools should be moving towards neuro-developmentally informed, trauma-sensitive, biologically respectful, relationship-based ways of understanding, and supporting all children. Unfortunately, schools, left to their own devices have in many cases continued to mistreat children within their charge. Without data and oversight, children continue to pay the price. The Keeping All Students Safe Act is needed to protect children across the nation from these dangerous and abusive practices,” Guy Stephens, founder.
Paris Hilton, child welfare advocate: “Restraint and seclusion are incredibly traumatic practices. Ending the use of restraint and seclusion would save lives, prevent abuse, and make our schools safer and more equitable. I support and urge congress to pass KASSA.”
Democratic Press Office, 202-226-0853
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