Beyer Introduces First Legislation
Keeping All Students Safe Act Would Protect Minority and Disabled Students Most at Risk
Washington, February 13, 2015 | Tia Shuyler (202-225-4376)
U.S. Representative Don Beyer introduced his first piece of legislation yesterday, H.R. 927, the Keeping All Students Safe Act.
The Keeping All Students Safe Act establishes minimum safety standards in schools similar to protections already in place in hospitals and non-medical community-based facilities. Rep. Beyer’s legislation would help states establish monitoring and enforcement systems that would identify and implement evidence-based models to prevent and reduce physical restraint and seclusion in schools. Over 200 national and state parent advocacy organizations have a history of support for this bill, which has been introduced with the support of 24 original co-sponsors.
“It is our responsibility to make sure all children are safe and protected at school. Too often dangerous and abusive techniques are used to discipline our students, disproportionately subjecting minority and disabled students to inappropriate seclusion and restraint in the classroom,” said Rep. Beyer. "The Keeping All Students Safe Act will protect students from these incidents of harmful discipline by setting minimum safety standards for schools and by providing training and support to school personnel. It is of paramount importance that we address this issue now, as Congress begins to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.”
Rep. Bobby Scott, Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, is an original co-sponsor.
“I commend Congressman Beyer for introducing this important legislation,” said Rep. Scott. “Every child, in every school, in every state deserves to be safe. It’s time to end the despicable abuse that has hurt too many students, families and school communities.”
Senator Barbara Favola has introduced similar legislation in the Virginia General Assembly.
“Thirty-two states have already recognized the need for this legislation and passed measures addressing seclusion and restraint. Virginia needs to protect our children from unwarranted and unjust treatment in public schools by passing this common sense legislation,” said Senator Favola.
Donna L. Gilles, Executive Director at the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University, weighed in to support Rep. Beyer’s Keeping All Students Safe Act, saying:
“Restraints and seclusion do not change behavior and actually can cause trauma and further behavior problems. In Virginia we have heard numerous stories from parents about young children being locked in rooms, tied to desks, or restrained using belts and ropes. The solution is not restraints but school-wide preventive strategies that create positive learning environments. At The Partnership for People with Disabilities at VCU, we work to provide teachers and administrators, as well as family members, the tools so that they do not use or support the use of these reactive techniques, which, we know from research are ineffective in preventing behavior challenges. Using restraints and seclusion, is unethical by any standards of behavior change.”
The Keeping All Students Safe Act is the first piece of legislation Rep. Beyer has introduced.
Co-Sponsors include: Bobby Scott, Susan Davis, Gerry Connolly, Dave Loebsack, Katherine Clark, Mark Takano, Paul Tonko, Jim Langevin, Sander Levin, Charles Rangel, Louise Slaughter, Steve Cohen, David Cicilline, Sean Patrick Maloney, Adam Schiff, Grace Napolitano, Pedro Pierluisi, Peter Defazio, Albio Sires, Chellie Pingree, Jim Himes, Mike Honda, Gregorio Sablan, Jim McGovern.