You may be surprised to learn that in some American schools, disabled children are still effectively being physically punished. The two most common tactics used are seclusion and restraint, even though we know those methods are both psychologically damaging and physically dangerous to children. That's why a new bill called the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA) was introduced to end these practices in any school that receives federal funding.
Will you sign the petition to demand an end to seclusion and restraint for vulnerable children? If you are an American, you can also go here for details on how and what to write directly to your representative to express your support.
The scenarios vary, but typically restraint and seclusion are used to try to control unwieldy behavior, often seen among disabled children. But there are other ways to work with children who have high support needs that don't involve tossing them in a dark room alone while they are extremely distressed (seclusion) or tying them down on a table (restraint). Physical punishment should not be used against anyone, least of all vulnerable children! These methods are traumatic for children experiencing them and staff administering them alike.
As with most punitive measures in the U.S., they are used disproportionately against marginalized people. The latest report from the Office of Civil Rights says that while disabled students are only 13% of the population, they represent 80% of those who experience restraint. Black and Indigenous students and Students of Color also represent a disproportionate amount of the children experiencing restraint and seclusion.
There is a myth that secluding and restraining a student who is "acting out" will keep other students and staff safer, but as it turns out, that's not true. In fact, restraint and seclusion can cause serious physical harm to staff and students, including death. Dozens of civil rights organizations have come together to demand an end to these practices, but they need our help! We need to spread the word that these cruel tactics are being used so we can finally end them.
Will you sign on to demand the United States Congress passes KASSA?