The Arc urges all advocates to participate in the June 12 national call-in day to support the Keeping All Students Safe Act legislation to prevent restraint and seclusion (S. 2036 and HR 1893), introduced by Senator Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Miller (D-CA), respectively. This legislation will prohibit the use of physical restraint unless a student’s behavior poses an imminent danger of physical harm to self or others, while ensuring that personnel receive proper training, that parents are aware of any restraint used with their children, and that the most dangerous types of restraint and seclusion are eliminated. Restraint and Seclusion have resulted in numerous serious injuries and fatalities and are disproportionately used on students with disabilities.
The day is being planned in collaboration with the national Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), the Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion (APRAIS), and other coalitions. Congress must hear from parents, people with disabilities, students, advocates, professionals, friends, families, and neighbors regarding this important legislation! Stay tuned for the action alert.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced the Keeping All Kids Safe Act. (More information, including a summary of the bill, is available here.) The bill would ban seclusion and severely restrict the use of restraint on school children. Senator Harkin also released an investigative report that found families often are not informed about the use of restraint and seclusion on their children. Those who learn about the practices and whose children are harmed by the use of restraint or seclusion have little or no recourse through school procedures or the courts. A main focus of the bill is to provide training to school personnel on the use of positive, supportive, and safe techniques when challenging behaviors do occur. To read The Arc’s statement, visit our blog.
The Arc and numerous advocacy organizations have launched a new campaign called “Stop Hurting Kids” with the goal of getting federal legislation passed to ensure that all students are safe in school. The campaign includes a website where people can sign up for email alerts and action items. The website has a link to a video that features first-person accounts from children and families of the physical and emotional harm suffered after being restrained and secluded in school. There is information on the website about H.R. 1893, Keeping all Students Safe Act. And finally, there are tips about how to use social media to support the campaign to keep all students safe in school.
Congressman George Miller (D-CA), ranking member of the House Education & Workforce Committee, and Congressman Gregg Harper (R-MS) introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act, H.R. 1893. The bill would ban restraint and seclusion except in emergency situations where there is a threat of imminent physical danger. It would require schools to inform parents on the same day if their child were restrained or secluded. Mechanical and chemical restraints would be prohibited as would physical restraints that impede breathing. The bill would promote positive behavioral alternatives for all children, require schools to collect data about the use of restraint and seclusion, and require training for school staff. The Arc supports the legislation.
A news story about abusive restraint and seclusion practices in schools aired on Nightline, an ABC News program. During the story, the narrator pointed out that only a few states have laws that regulate the use of restraint and seclusion. The story is a potent reminder about why The Arc supports S. 2020 and HR.1381, the Keeping All Students Safe Act.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing last week entitled, “Beyond Seclusion and Restraint: Creating Positive Learning Environments for all Students.” Four individuals offered testimony about positive alternatives to restraint and seclusion. To view testimony from each witness visit the HELP Committee website.
Earlier this year, The Arc sent a letter to Senator Harkin, who is the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, reiterating our support for restraint and seclusion legislation. We also signed on to a Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) letter that detailed how children with disabilities, minorities, and other children have been harmed, injured, and killed by this practice. That letter also states our strong support for the Harkin and Miller bills (S. 2020, HR 1381).
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing entitled, “Beyond Seclusion and Restraint: Creating Positive Learning Environments for All Students” on July 12.
The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) issued a report opposing the Keeping All Students Safe Act (S. 2020, HR 1381) introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Congressman George Miller (D-CA). The bill allows the use of physical restraint only when someone is in danger of being harmed, while ensuring that personnel receive proper training, that parents are aware of any restraint or seclusion used with their children, and that the most dangerous types of restraint and seclusion are eliminated. AASA argued that no federal legislation is necessary and school districts should have freedom to make decisions about restraint/seclusion on their own.
The Arc sent a letter to Senator Harkin, who is the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, reiterating our support for restraint and seclusion legislation. We also signed on to a Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) letter that detailed how children with disabilities, minorities, and other children have been harmed, injured, and killed by this practice. That letter also states our strong support for the Harkin and Miller bills.
The Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education released the Civil Rights Data Collection which includes district-level and school-level data that it collected for the 2009-10 school year from nearly 7,000 school districts. The data comes from almost half of the total number of school districts and represents 85% of all students. The report includes data about school discipline and, for the first time, data about restraint and seclusion. The Department released a national-level summary of some of the data. Students with disabilities (served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504) comprise 12% of students in the sample and are more than twice as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions (6% of all students compared to 13% of students covered by IDEA). Of all students who are physically restrained in schools, 70% of them are students with disabilities. The Department will post national data to its website in the future.
The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) released a report detailing examples of the use of restraint and seclusion in schools across the country. Read media coverage of the report.