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Action Alert - Tell MS State Senate to PASS Mississippi Student Safety Act (S. 2594)

Friday, January 24, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Denise Marshall
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Action Alert –Contact Members of the Education Committee in the Mississippi State Legislature, State Superintendent Carey Wright and Governor Phil Bryant by January 31, 2014!

ISSUE: Chairman of the Senate Education Committee Gray Tollison introduced a bill, Mississippi Student Safety Act (S. 2594), to keep all students safe by limiting the imposition ofrestraint and seclusion on students in Mississippi school districts.

BACKGROUND

Mississippi is one of only five states in the nation that has not established laws, regulations, or guidance to limit the dangerous, and at times deadly, imposition of seclusion and restraint on school children. The harmful use of restraint and seclusion is a pervasive, nationwide problem. The Government Accountability Office and numerous other sources have found that a high percentage of students who have been restrained or secluded were not exhibiting behavior that would warrant such interventions and the students that were often affected by restraint and seclusion were young students with disabilities, often with no verbal means of communication.

It is time for the State of Mississippi to establish laws, regulations, or guidance on restraint and seclusion situations in schools to ensure the safety of all students at school. Chairman of the Senate Education Committee Gray Tollison has introduced legislation that will establish minimum safety standards to limit the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. We thank Chairman Tollison for his leadership.

Note: There is a strict timeline that the bill will need to follow to pass through the committee and the full Senate in order for the House to be able to consider the bill this session. The deadlines are as follows:

February 3rd - The bill needs to pass through the Education Committee by this date.

February 12th - The bill needs to be voted on by the full Senate by this date.

ACT NOW: It is essential that COPAA members contact these offices to state the dire need for this bill to be passed in an appropriate time frame.

Governor Phil Bryant's Office – (601) 359-3150

State Superintendent Carey Wright, Mississippi Department of Education(601) 359-3513

Members of the Mississippi Legislature to contact:

Senator Nancy Adams Collins, Vice-Chairman, Education Committee - (601) 359-2395; ncollins@senate.ms.gov

Senator David Blount, Education Committee - (601) 359-3232; dblount@senate.ms.gov

Senator Terry C. Burton, Education Committee - (601) 359-3234;tburton@senate.ms.gov

Senator Videt Carmichael, Education Committee - (601) 359-3244; vcarmichael@senate.ms.gov

Senator Steve Hale, Education Committee - (601) 359-3252; shale@senate.ms.gov

Senator Angela Burks Hill, Education Committee - ((601) 359-2886; ahill@senate.ms.gov

Senator W. Briggs Hopson III, Education Committee - (601) 359-3237; bhopson@senate.ms.gov

Senator Russell Jolly, Education Committee - (601) 359-2886; rjolly@senate.ms.gov

Senator David Jordan, Education Committee - (601) 359-3244; djordan@senate.ms.gov

Senator Chris Massey, Education Committee – (601 359-2886; cmassey@senate.ms.gov

Senator John A. Polk, Education Committee – (601) 359-3246; jpolk@senate.ms.gov

Senator Tony Smith, Education Committee – (601) 359-2886; tsmith@senate.ms.gov

Senator Brice Wiggins, Education Committee – (228) 324-3232; bwiggins@senate.ms.gov

Senator J.P. Wilemon, Jr., Education Committee – (662) 454-7585; jwilemon@senate.ms.gov

Suggested Comments:

"I strongly support the Mississippi Student Safety Act (S. 2594) that was introduced by Chairman of the Senate Education Committee Gray Tollison. This legislation works to establish minimum safety standards to limit the use of restraint and seclusion in Mississippi schools. Mississippi is one of only five states in the nation that has not established laws, regulations, or guidance to limit the dangerous, and at times deadly, imposition of seclusion and restraint on school children. The Government Accountability Office and numerous other sources have found that a high percentage of students who have been restrained or secluded were not exhibiting behavior that would warrant such interventions and the students that were often affected by restraint and seclusion were young (ages 6-10) students with no verbal means of communication, and have disabilities. Discipline measures that include restraint and seclusion should not be used in schools and it is imperative that laws and regulations be put in place to stop such harmful actions. So I ask that you support S. 2594 to restrict, and begin the path to eliminate, restraint and seclusion in Mississippi schools.”

Note: Rep. Harper (R-MS) in the U.S. Congress has co-sponsored HR 1893and COPAA sincerely appreciates his leadership and support on behalf of students with disabilities.

For more information:

Mississippi Student Safety Act (S. 2594)

STOP Hurting KIds Website

COPAA Declaration of Principles Opposing the Use of Restraint, Seclusion and Aversive Interventions (updated March, 2011)

COPAA Website Resources for Safe Schools

Model State Bill to Prohibit Seclusion and Limit Restraint in Schools

The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion (APRAIS) Website


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