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Newark, NJ, May 27, 2021 – SPAN would like to applaud Congress for introducing the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA) which would make it illegal for any school receiving federal funds to seclude a child or use dangerous restraint practices that restrict 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.

For more than 30 years the parent leaders at SPAN have fought to help ensure equal opportunity and full participation in school for students with disabilities and Black students who are disproportionately subjected to restraint and seclusion.  Consider the staggering statistics from the 2018 Civil Rights Data Collection, which found that of students restrained or secluded at school, 78 percent were students with disabilities.  And, although Black students comprise 15 percent of the student population, they represent 22 percent of students subjected to seclusion and 34 percent of students subjected to mechanical restraint.

At SPAN, we have long advocated for an educational system that is inclusive, individualized, and responsive to the needs of all students.  This bill is a first step in ensuring that many of the children needing evidence-based supports and services the most are not instead met with violent abuse as they enter what should be the safe space of their school.

Let your member of Congress know that you support this bill and ask them to pass it!  To do so, click here.

With thanks,

Diana Autin

Executive Director

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