Right now, Congress is considering the Keeping All Students Safe Act, which would restrict the use of seclusion and restraint at schools in the United States. The widespread and dangerous use of restraining students in schools needs to be addressed.
On April 18th, 2012 my son Corey Foster was killed while playing basketball at the Leake and Watts school in Yonkers, New York - a state funded school. During the student recreational time, one of the employees of Leake and Watts approached Corey and told him to get off the basketball court so that the employees can play. Corey was upset and made a last shot at the rim and the ball bounced off and hit an employee.
According to the video tape Corey was cornered by 5 employees , that’s when Corey was slammed to the wall by a staff member. Corey was restrained by 4 to 5 employees who piled on his back and held him down. Corey complained that he could not breathe and one employee replied "if you can talk, you can breathe.”
Within moments, Corey would be dead. They killed my son with 7 minutes of restraining. They failed my son. They failed us. But the Keeping All Students Safe Act would for the first time, put in place minimum safety standards to prevent abusive seclusion and restraint in schools across the country.
In 2009, an investigation by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found hundreds of allegations where children have been abused, and some even died, as a result of misuses of seclusion and restraint in schools. In some of the cases examined in the GAO report, ropes, duct tape, chairs with straps and bungee cords were used to restrain or isolate young children.
This bipartisan legislation would protect school children from inappropriate uses of seclusion and restraint. The bill would provide school personnel with the necessary tools, training, and support to ensure the safety of all students and school personnel.
Please join me and sign this petition to ban restraint and seclusion!
- Governor,Mayor,Senate,Congressmen, New York City Board of Education,
I’m writing today to ask that you please support the Keeping All Students Safe Act, S. 2020 in the Senate and H.R. 1381 in the House of Representatives. This will create minimum standards to protect all children nationwide from restraint and seclusion.
The Keeping All Students Safe Act will ban physical restraint except in emergency situations when there is an immediate threat of physical danger to a person. The law will also provide similar protections from seclusion. Too often, children have been restrained for minor behavior problems like not doing assignments or being noisy.
A Government Accountability Office study found hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and death from restraint and seclusion in school. They included a young teen who hanged himself in a seclusion room while a teacher sat outside and a 7 year old who was restrained face down and died because she could not breathe. The GAO documented at least 20 stories of children who died from restraint. Other children suffered injuries, including broken bones and bloody noses, or had post-traumatic stress syndrome. The bills ban life-threatening restraints.
The Keeping All Students Safe Act promotes preventing problematic behavior through the use of de-escalation techniques, conflict management, and positive interventions. The bill will also require schools to promptly notify parents. Too many parents never find out what happened; 27 states have no parental notification requirements at all.
Please support the Keeping All Students Safe Act, S.2020 and H.R. 1381, to protect children nationwide from abuse.
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