Seclusion and Restraint Practices Disproportionately Used on Students Who Experience Disabilities and Black Students
WASHINGTON — U.S Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, joined her colleagues in introducing the Keeping All Students Safe Act to protect students from dangerous seclusion and restraint discipline practices in schools. According to the most current data from the Civil Rights Data Collection, 101,990 students were subjected to seclusion or restraint during the 2017-18 school year. Of the students restrained or secluded, 78 percent were students with disabilities, and a disproportionate number of these students are Black.
“School should be a safe place for all students to learn and grow, and students should not be subjected to dangerous disciplinary practices, such as being placed in locked rooms or in restraints,” Senator Hassan said. “This commonsense legislation would ban seclusion and dangerous restraint practices, which are disproportionately used on students who experience disabilities and Black students, and would also provide school personnel with the resources to help them better respond to high-stress situations. I look forward to working with my colleagues to build support for this measure to help make our schools safer for all students.”
The Keeping All Students Safe Act would ban any school receiving federal taxpayer money from secluding children and using dangerous restraint practices that restrict children’s breathing, such as prone or supine restraint. The bill would also prohibit schools from physically restraining children, except when necessary, to protect students and staff. The bill would better equip school personnel with the training they need to address school-expected behavior with evidence-based proactive strategies, require states to monitor the law’s implementation, and increase transparency and oversight to prevent future abuse of students. The legislation is led by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Patty Murray (D-WA), as well as Representatives Don Beyer (VA-08), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), and Donald McEachin (VA-04).
Senator Hassan is focused on supporting individuals with disabilities in all aspects of their lives. Earlier this year, Senator Hassan successfully urged the Food and Drug Administration to finalize a rule to ban the use of electrical stimulation devices on children and adults who experience disabilities. Senator Hassan also successfully pushed the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to back the repeal of a discriminatory federal policy that allows employers to pay subminimum wages to workers who experience disabilities. Senator Hassan is also working to better protect individuals with disabilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and recently led a group of her colleagues in urging the Department of Labor to better support workers who experience disabilities and who may be at particular risk as a result of COVID-19.