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Beyer Welcomes McAuliffe Legislation Prohibiting Harmful Tactics in Schools

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Washington, March 18, 2015 | comments

U.S. Representative Don Beyer applauded Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia General Assembly for outlawing the use of seclusion and restraint to discipline public school students. 

“Governor McAuliffe and the Virginia legislature are right: These dangerous techniques have no place in our schools,” said Rep. Beyer.  “I worked to include a federal version of this bill in this month’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) so that these practices would cease beyond Virginia’s borders as well.” 

Beyer introduced H.R. 927, the Keeping All Students Safe Act, to establish minimum safety standards in schools similar to protections already in place in hospitals and non-medical community-based facilities. 

His legislation was included as part of the Democrats’ Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization proposal, which has been offered as a substitute amendment to H.R. 5, the Republican rewrite of ESEA. 

“Every student should feel safe in school, and every parent should send their child to school confident that these harmful practices aren’t used to deny educational opportunity,” said Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03).  “This is especially important for students with disabilities and students of color who, research shows, suffer when restraint and seclusion go unchecked. Since millions of students across the country still lack these basic protections, I have urged my colleagues in Congress to follow Virginia’s lead and enact the Keeping All Students Safe Act through the ESEA reauthorization. Democrats and Republicans must come together to protect all children in every state from abuse in our public schools.” 

Over 200 national, state, and local organizations support Beyer’s legislation, as well as 31 cosponsors. Department of Education statistics show that nearly 107,000 students were subject to physical restraint or isolated seclusion during the 2011-2012 school year. 

“I’m just very thankful Governor McAuliffe signed this law.  Unregulated restraint and seclusion has no place in our classrooms and I am glad to know that other parents won’t have to live through this distress,” said Nadia Facey, an Arlington parent.

Fewer than 20 states have laws on the books limiting the use of these harmful tactics, which are overwhelmingly used against minority or special needs students.

Click here to learn more about The Keeping All Students Safe Act.

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