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Keeping All Students Safe Act Aims to Prevent and Reduce the Use of Restraint, Seclusion in Schools

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A new bill, the Keeping All Students Safe Act, was introduced to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Wednesday that aims to reduce and prevent seclusion and restraint in schools.

The legislation, introduced by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.), would make it illegal for schools that receive taxpayer dollars to seclude children, according to a press release from Murphy’s office.

The bill calls for the implementation of safety standards for restraints and would require states to monitor how well the law is enacted. It would also limit physical restraint to only incidents where it is “necessary for the safety of students and teachers.”

Restraint and seclusion disproportionately affect students with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) found that 71 percent of students who were restrained and 66 percent of students who were secluded had disabilities. While students with disabilities make up the majority of those subjected to this treatment, they only represent approximately 12 percent of the general student population.

“These practices are disproportionally used on students with disabilities and children of color, so I’m pleased this bill starts to address the inequities in education that hold so many students back from reaching their full potential,” Murphy said. “We must keep working to ensure every student is able to learn in a safe and supportive environment — no matter where they live, how they learn or how much money their parents make.”

Murphy said the bill would set federal standards for student safety while also giving teachers and other staff members alternatives to restraint and seclusion during “challenging situations.”

“It’s barbaric for schools to confine students alone in locked rooms or to use abusive methods to restrain little children,” Murphy said. “Treating school kids this way should not be tolerated in America. Period.”

Photo via Getty Images/Tomwang112

Originally published: November 16, 2018
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