Should Congress ban schools from exercising physical restraint on students?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This bill essentially protects public school students against harmful or physical restraint. According to the Civil Rights Data collection, over 100,000 students were subject to such restraint during the 2017-2018 school year, a number that disproportionately represented Black boys. The bill also includes educational training for school staff. Sponsor: Sen. Christopher Murphy (Democrat, Connecticut) View full bill text ➔

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Opponents say

•     "If these restrictions are placed on schools, the potential outcome of someone's interpretation will be (to) just keep the students out of the general population so they can deal with their meltdown on their own."

Source: Gary Myrah (Port Washington-Saukville School District)

•     "We know increased Federal regulations do not equal results, especially when it comes to public education. Despite Washington’s spending hundreds of billions in Federal dollars since 1965 on public education, the achievement gap has not closed, and test scores have not improved. Instead, we should be focusing on enforcement of current State procedures addressing seclusion and restraint of students. It is my belief that State and local governments can identify student needs and determine the most appropriate regulations better and more efficiently than the Federal Government."

Source: Rep. Virginia Foxx (Republican, North Carolina, District 5)

Proponents say

     "The data tells us that seclusion and restraint practices in school are dangerous, ineffective and predominately used against kids of color and students with disabilities….I’m proud to reintroduce legislation that makes it illegal for any school receiving federal taxpayer dollars to lock kids alone in rooms or restrain them in ways that are tantamount to abuse. This legislation also provides educators with the resources they need to implement safe, evidence-based, and trauma-informed alternatives to address disruptive behavior."

Source: Sen. Christopher Murphy (Democrat, Connecticut) 

•     "It is absolutely appalling and completely unacceptable that in 2021, it is still legal for schools to lock students in rooms alone or forcibly restrain them in dangerous ways. And it is clear from the data that because of systemic ableism and racism, its students with disabilities, students of color, and boys who are suffering the most harm from these practices….. Keeping kids safe shouldn’t be a partisan goal—so I urge all my colleagues to support this bill and protect our students."

Source: Sen. Patty Murray (Democrat, Washington) 

     "The practice of subjecting students to abusive discipline techniques happens far too often, and disproportionately affects Black children and students with disabilities. Many states have previously recognized the harm of seclusion and inappropriate restraint in the classroom and banned these practices. This is a national civil rights issue that needs a federal solution, and our bill would enact nationwide protections that students across the country deserve….The Keeping All Students Safe Act will protect students from harmful discipline by creating minimum safety standards for schools and by providing training and support to school personnel."

Source: Rep. Don Beyer (Democrat, Virginia, District 8)