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Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc.
Dear COPAA Members –
As you know, we continue to work diligently to pass S. 2020 and H.R. 1381 (Keeping All Students Safe Act) in this Congress. It’s very important, once again, to get as many signatures of local, state and national organizations to sign on in support of both bills. The sign on letter will go to Senator Harkin, Senator Enzi, Representative Kline, and Representative Miller next week, as well as other members of the Senate and House Committees.
Organizations wishing to sign on please visit http://svy.mk/LtrRestraSe
Please note, this sign on letter is only for organizations. Individuals who wish to support the bill (very much encouraged) should contact your Senators and Representative directly to ask them to support the Keeping All Students Safe Act, S.2020 and H.R. 1381. You can get your Senators' phone numbers at www.senate.gov (or email them if you prefer) and your Representatives at www.house.gov.
Please feel free to forward this message to your networks far and wide.
Currently, only 11 states protect all students from non-emergency restraint that threatens imminent physical danger (16 states protect students with disabilities) and 7 states protect all students from non-emergency seclusion (12 states protect students with disabilities). Others allow S/R for such things as tantrums or disruptive behavior, destruction of property, being unable to pay attention due to a disability, non-compliance, punishment, discipline, and in some, even staff convenience (because they have no limits). More than 1/2 of states do not require schools to notify parents when a child is restrained/secluded. For more information, see attached State Fact Sheet and the related report, How Safe Is the Schoolhouse? An Analysis of State Seclusion and Restraint Laws and Policies (Autism National Committee 2012), http://www.autcom.org/pdf/HowSafeSchoolhouse.pdf . Information on the disproportionate use of restraint and seclusion against minority students and those with disabilities is here: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/crdc-2012-data-summary.pdf
The American Association of School Administrators and individual school district administrators are fighting hard against the bill. COPAA, in
its March 22nd letter to Congress, rejects the conclusions of the American Association of School Administrators’ (AASA
). AASA wishes to preserve freedom for school districts to use restraint/seclusion as they wish. The AASA has made a number of fallacious claims, but they are sticking with Congressional offices because of the broad reach AASA has. Every urban area has several school districts and when they advocate, their voices are heard. The National School Board Association (NSBA) is seeking an exemption from the bill for any state with a policy--no matter how limited or whether it is entirely non-binding and could be eliminated tomorrow by fiat. NSBA is also seeking to remove the critically important provision that prohibits the use of restraint or seclusion into a planning document or the Individualized Education Program (IEP). See brief written by COPAA for APRAIS on the need for this prohibition.
Planned use of restraint and seclusion as an intervention is inconsistent with preventing and reducing their use; including restraint and seclusion in IEPs will increase, rather than decrease their use, thereby undercutting the purpose Planning should only occur to avoid and prevent the need for emergency interventions allowed under the bills.
A federal law with mandatory legal obligations and clearly understood legal terms is vital for protecting all children. We need to show strong support for a national bill that sets a standard of protection for all students against the inappropriate and dangerous use of restraint and seclusion in our nation’s schools. The bills are important to protect all children in all states. Even if your state has a restraint/seclusion law, there are many states without laws or with weak or ineffective laws.
Below is an interim list of the organizations that have signed on to date. Please feel free to forward the request for sign-ons to other organizations, national, state, or local organizations and groups, even if the group is informal. Organizations can also sign on by emailing Jessica Butler, Autism National Committee jessica@... or going to http://svy.mk/LtrRestraSe (which allows the list to be downloaded into an excel spreadsheet.) For your information attached are COPAA’s support letter for both bills and a Fact Sheet on the States and Restraint/Seclusion,
Sign-On Letter for The Keeping All Students Safe Act
(Restraint Seclusion Congressional Bills)
We, the undersigned, believe it is time for a national policy addressing restraint and seclusion in our schools for all children. In 2009, a Government Accountability Office study found children have been injured, traumatized, and even killed through restraint and seclusion in schools. In March 2012, data released by the Department of Education showed that nearly 40,000 students were physically restrained during the 2009-10 school year; 70% of whom were students with disabilities. The data also showed that these practices are disproportionately used upon minority students.There have been numerous news reports of students harmed by restraints and seclusion. Less than 1/3 of states restrict restraint and seclusion use to emergencies involving an imminent risk of physical harm. It is important that use of restraint and seclusion be limited to these emergencies. While federal law protects children and adults from the use of restraints and seclusion in hospitals, no similar federal laws exist to protect children in schools. We urge Congress to pass the Keeping All Students Safe Act bills (S.2020 and H.R. 1381), and create minimum restraint/seclusion standards in schools that will protect all children.
The Keeping All Students Safe Act will promote a shift toward preventing problematic behavior through the use of de-escalation techniques, conflict management and evidence-based positive behavioral interventions and supports. This shift will help school personnel understand the needs of their students and safely address the source of challenging behaviors – a better result for everyone in the classroom. In many cases, the use of positive supports and interventions greatly diminishes and even eliminates the need to use restraint and seclusion. For example, the Centennial School in Pennsylvania, which serves children in 35 school districts, has cut the use of restraint and seclusion from well over 1,000 occurrences per year to less than ten through the use of positive supports. Reports and studies have also shown that students and staff are safer when positive interventions and supports, rather than restraint and seclusion, are used in schools. Worker's Compensation costs even decrease significantly.
S. 2020 and H.R. 1381 will protect all children in school. They will ensure that restraints are used only in emergencies posing an imminent threat of physical danger. If less restrictive and dangerous measures like de-escalation, conflict management, and positive behavioral supports will prevent the threat, the bills will require that they be used. The bills will provide similar protections from seclusion. They will require prompt parental notification. They will ban the use of restraints that impede breathing or harm children or staff. The bills will ensure that staff are properly trained in evidence-based methods to minimize the use of restraint and seclusion and to protect children and staff.
We ask Congress to pass the Keeping All Students Safe Act and make our schools safer for students and staff. America needs more than the current patchwork of state laws to ensure that every child is afforded protection.
The Arc of the United States
Autism Society of America
National Disability Rights Network
National Allliance on Mental Illness
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
Mental Health America
National Organization for Women Foundation
Southern Poverty Law Center
Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE)
National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND)
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Association on Health and Disability
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychiatric Nurses Association
Autism National Committee
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Disability Rights Legal Center
Families Against Restraint and Seclusion
National Association for Children's Behavioral Health
National Association of Rural Mental Health
National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
National Autism Association
Prader-Willi Syndrome Association (USA)
Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc.
The Arc of New Jersey
The Arc Michigan
The Arc Anderson County
Tri State Down Syndrome Network
The Arc Michigan
Michigan Disability Rights Coalition
California Safe Schools
CAPCA (California Association for Parent-Child Advocacy)
Families For Early Autism Treatment
Independent Living Resource Center, Inc.
Learning Rights Law Center
Parents Advocating Together
West Los Angeles Trauma and Crime Victim Center
Law Offices of Tania L. Whiteleather
Colorado Cross Disability Coalition
Reveresco ABA Therapy
disAbility Solutions for Independent Living
Georgia Families Against Restraint and Seclusion
Living Independence for Everyone (LIFE), Inc.
LIFE Center for Independent Living
Northwestern IL Center for Independent Living
Disability Rights Center of Kansas
Independent Living Center of the North Shore & Cape Ann, Inc.
Stavros Center for Independent Living, Inc.
Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards
Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority
Woodlands Behavioral Healthcare Network
Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
Coastal Women for Change
Just Advocacy of Mississippi
Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities
Council for Children's Rights
Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network
New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc.
New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education, Inc.
Regional Family Support Planning Council # 9 ( Atlantic Co.)
The Arc of New Jersey
The Special Education Leadership Council of NJ
Advocacy for Children with dis-Abilities
Pegasus Legal Services for Children
The Center for Self Determination
Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley Inc. (ILCHV)
Independent Living Inc.
New York Association on Independent Living
Social Justice Committee, Ithaca Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Southern Tier Independence Center
Westchester Independent Living Center
The Lorain County Board of Mental Health
Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs
Liberty Resources Inc (Independent Living Center)
The Arc Anderson County
DFW Interfaith Coffee House
Family Advocacy and Consultation services, Inc
Special Needs Resource Project
Utah Advocacy Partnership
Blue Ridge INdependent Living Center, Inc.
disAbility Resource Center
Endependence Center, Inc.
Disability Rights Vermont, Inc. (Vermont's P&A)
Disability Rights Wisconsin
Wisconsin Family Assistance Center for Education, Training and Support, Inc. (WI FACETS)
Parents Helping Parents of WY, Inc
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