APRAIS coalition applauds the introduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act by Sen. Harkin
WASHINGTON (December 20, 2011) – The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion, known as APRAIS, applauds the long-awaited introduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act (S. 2020) by U.S. Senator Harkin (D-Iowa). If passed, the legislation will provide federal protections for students by prohibiting abusive seclusion and restraint use in schools. Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) introduced a similar bill in the House earlier this spring (H.R. 1381).
APRAIS, a 22-member coalition that has advocated for a federal baseline of protections since 2004, believes this legislation will ensure the prevention of practices that cause physical and emotional harm to students with and without disabilities. These practices have resulted in the serious injury, emotional trauma and death of hundreds of children nationwide.
“The lack of protections for students limiting the use of restraint and seclusion has proven to be a disastrous missing component of our national education policy for children and parents. If passed, S. 2020 will align federal education policy with all other federal policy related to human services and for the nation’s youngest, most vulnerable citizens,” said Barb Trader, Executive Director of TASH, which founded the APRAIS coalition. “The members of the APRAIS coalition and TASH are grateful to Senator Harkin for his leadership on this issue, and urge swift passage of this legislation that fully protects each student’s right to be safe at school.”
Efforts to stop restraint and seclusion gained national attention in 2009 as the Government Accountability Office found abusive practices were occurring in schools throughout the U.S. As acknowledged in the GAO report, no federal laws exist restricting restraint and seclusion in schools, and state laws vary widely if they exist at all.
The APRAIS coalition has worked with Sen. Harkin and others in Washington for a number of years urging for adequate protection from and reporting of restraint and seclusion instances in schools. Reps. Miller and McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.) first introduced the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act (HR 4247), which passed the House with bipartisan support in 2010. One year after that legislation failed to gain traction in the Senate, TASH issued a media report highlighting dozens of instances of restraint and seclusion abuses in schools across the nation. The report, The Cost of Waiting, is available online. You can learn more about the APRAIS coalition, TASH and nationwide efforts to prevent restraint and seclusion by visiting www.tash.org/aprais.
The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion (APRAIS) was established in 2004 by leading education, research and advocacy organizations to protect children with significant disabilities who exhibit challenging behaviors from abuse in schools, treatment programs and residential facilities. Led by TASH, APRAIS is comprised of members from leading disability advocacy organizations. Visit www.tash.org/aprais for more information
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, TASH is an international grassroots leader in advancing inclusive communities through research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1975, we are a volunteer-driven organization that advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with the most significant disabilities and support needs – those most vulnerable to segregation, abuse, neglect and institutionalization. The inclusive practices we validate through research have been shown to improve outcomes for all people. More information about TASH can be found at www.tash.org.