Keeping All Students Safe Act Passes House

Every child should be safe and protected while at school but an investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) last year found “hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and death” as a result of misuses of restraint and seclusion in public and private schools, with many of these interventions used disproportionately on children with disabilities. ABC News:

Cedric Price, a 14-year-old with post traumatic stress disorder, died in 2002 after his 230-pound teacher sat on him to restrain him. His mother said the teacher sat on her son until he turned blue and couldn’t breathe, and the boy’s death was ruled a homicide.

According to the report, a 4-year-old autistic girl died because teachers restrained her with wooden straps in a chair described as resembling a miniature electric chair.

Congressional investigators also uncovered cases of teachers taping childrens’ mouths shut, using handcuffs, denying them food and locking them in small dark spaces, the report said.

By a vote of 262-153, the House passed the Keeping All Students Safe Act (HR 4247) this afternoon. This bipartisan bill establishes, for the first time, federal minimum safety standards in schools, preventing harmful restraint and seclusion. Unlike in hospitals and other facilities that receive federal funding, there are no federal laws that address how and when restraint or seclusion can be used in schools and state regulations and oversight vary greatly and have often failed to protect children.

Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-CA) on the importance of the legislation:

Learn more about the bill»