Keep All Students Safe at School!
Friday, February 28, 2014
Posted by: Denise Marshall
Action Alert – Write a letter to both of your U.S. Senators in support of the Keeping All Students Safe Act. Ask them to become a cosponsor now!
ISSUE: Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced new legislation, the Keeping All Students Safe Act (S. 2036), that will set a federal standard that prohibits the use of seclusion and limits the imposition of restraint on any student attending public schools.
There are many accounts of school districts that allow the use of restraint and seclusion on students as a form of punishment even though there is no evidence proving that restrain and seclusion works. The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights released a report in March 2012 that revealed of the tens of thousands of school-aged children who are secluded or restrained at school each year, 70 percent are students with disabilities. The use of restraint, seclusion and aversive interventions need to be recorded, monitored and held to certain standards in order to limit the excessive and unjust use of physical punishment on students in school. Supporting Chairman Harkin’s bill, Keeping All Students Safe Act, is a step in the right direction – towards more uniform standards and enforcement of restraint and seclusion techniques on students in schools.
ACT NOW: Write a letter to both of your U.S. Senators to ask them to cosponsor Chairman Tom Harkin’s new legislation to end harmful seclusion and restraint in schools. ALSO, tweet to #KeepStudentsSafe, end harmful seclusion & restraints in schools.
Suggested language for your letter:
“I strongly support Chairman Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) new legislation, Keeping All Students Safe Act (S. 2036) that will set a federal standard that prohibits the use of seclusion and limits the imposition of restraint on any student attending public schools. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights released a report that revealed of the tens of thousands of school-aged children who are secluded or restrained at school each year, 70 percent are students with disabilities. The use of restraint, seclusion and aversive interventions are an infringement on an children’s civil rights. I specifically like that S. 2036 includes provisions that ___(add 1-3 provisions that you feel strongly about from the list below)___. As your constituent, I ask that you please cosponsor the Keeping All Students Safe Act and put an end to the extensive use of restraint and seclusion practices in schools.”
Specific Provisions in S. 2036 (to select from and add to the text above)
1) Allows for physical restraints only in emergency situations, and only if not contraindicated or does not inhibit a student’s primary means of communication;
2) Bans the use of seclusion in schools;
3) Limits the degree of force when imposing restraint in an emergency;
4) Removes the requirement to exhaust under IDEA prior to pursuing civil action;
5) Requires state educational agencies to establish policies and procedures to promote preventative systems and instruction to prevent the need for emergency use of restraints;
6) Requires states to collect and make public data on the use of restraints or seclusion;
7) Requires schools to notify parents within 24 hours that a restraint has been used, to conduct a debriefing with parents, staff, and when appropriate the student after a restraint is used, and plan for positive behavioral interventions that will prevent the use of restraints with the student in the future;
8) Establishes a state grant program to enhance the State’s ability to promote, within its local educational agencies preventative programming and training for school personnel.
Full Text of the Keeping All Students Safe Act
COPAA Letter of Support