Dear Representative Beyer and Senator Murphy:
The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS) is dedicated to ensuring that students with disabilities have equal access to charter schools and that charter schools are designed and operated to enable all students to succeed. NCSESCS is a leader and partner with state charter authorizers, charter networks, and charter schools across the United States. Today, we write to express our strong support for the introduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act. We appreciate your leadership in proposing legislation that prohibits seclusion and seeks to prevent and limit the use of restraint in schools. This bill, if enacted, would considerably strengthen protections in every state and ensure the safety of all students and school personnel.
Restraint and seclusion are dangerous practices that cause students trauma and have resulted in injury, and even death. School personnel can also be injured when imposing restraint and seclusion. Though the use of restraint and seclusion is widespread, national data indicates that students with disabilities are roughly 20 times more likely than their peers without disabilities to be restrained and/or secluded. All of our nation’s students deserve better. NCSECS, through the Equity Coalition has developed a Statement on Discipline for charter schools to embrace as they seek to provide inclusive, safe and positive learning environments for all students, consistent with the purposes of this bill.
We appreciate that the Keeping All Students Safe Act will prohibit seclusion and seek to prevent and reduce the use of physical restraint. The bill also promotes a shift toward preventing problematic behavior through use of de-escalation techniques, conflict management, and evidence-based positive behavioral interventions and supports. This improved focus will help school personnel understand the needs of their students and safely address the source of their behaviors – a better result for everyone in our nation’s schools.
We applaud your leadership in authoring and promoting the Keeping All Students Safe Act. We look forward to working with you and your staff to help pass this important legislation.
Lauren Morando Rhim, Ph.D.