AUCD Statement on Introduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act

May 9, 2013


Kim E. Musheno
Director of Public Policy
301-588-8252
kmusheno@aucd.org

Download

doc File AUCD Press Release (173KB) [download]

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) applauds Representative George Miller (D-CA), ranking minority member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, for introducing the Keeping All Students Safe Act (H.R. 1893). This legislation would establish long-overdue protections for the use of restraint and seclusion in our nation's schools.

Restraint and seclusion in education is often unregulated. Currently, no federal laws exist to regulate the use of these interventions in schools, and many states have no laws in place to govern their use. Recent reports by the National Disability Rights Network and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) show the result: children have suffered injury, trauma and even death as a result of being secluded or restrained by school personnel, often as punishment for behaviors that do not pose a threat of harm or as a replacement for positive behavioral interventions. The GAO documented 20 deaths of school children. In March 2012, the Civil Rights Data Collection showed that nearly 40,000 students were physically restrained during the 2009-10 school year.

"Setting a federal floor of protections is essential to preventing abuse, especially for students with disabilities who experience the use of restraint and seclusion at disproportionately high rates," said AUCD President Julie Fodor, Ph.D. "This bill also emphasizes prevention of the need for restraints or seclusion by promoting practices that are evidence-based, such as positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS). Research by many of our University Centers has shown that PBIS to be an effective intervention for children with challenging behaviors."

The Keeping All Students Safe Act would prohibit the use of seclusion and the most dangerous types of restraint; require parental notification when restraint is used; and require training and certification of school personnel who implement physical restraint. Its focus on preventive techniques and positive behavioral interventions will help school personnel understand the needs of their students and address the source of challenging behaviors before they become dangerous. These national minimum standards would strengthen protections in every state and ensure the safety of all students and personnel in our nation's schools. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has indicated plans to introduce a companion bill in the Senate soon. AUCD looks forward to working with Members of Congress to ensure quick passage of this bill.