Let’s Keep All Students Safe: Contact Your Senator

Background:

Every child should be safe and protected while in school. But a May 2009 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), requested by Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA), cites hundreds of cases where a student was allegedly abused by an inappropriate use of seclusion or restraint, including some cases where the abuse was fatal. Many of these interventions were used disproportionately on some of our most vulnerable students—children with disabilities.

Mental Health America has joined a broad group of health and disability organizations in support of legislation that would for first time set minimum federal standards on the use of restraint and seclusion in all schools receiving federal support. Thirty-one states have standards on restraint and seclusion, but Chairman Miller criticized them for being too vague.

Results:

Because of Rep. Miller’s leadership and the support of advocates like you, the House of Representatives last week passed his groundbreaking legislation--the “Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act” (H.R. 4247) that will address these problems and ensure the safety of both students and school staff.

Next Steps:

Now we need the Senate to act. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) has introduced a companion bill (S. 2860), which is awaiting committee action.

Contact your Senators and urge them to cosponsor S. 2860 and keep all our students safe.

TAKE ACTION!

Contact your Senators and Representative by:

  1. Calling their offices through this toll-free number: 800-828-0498
    (use this zip code locator to find the names of your legislators)
  2. Completing the Email Your Legislator form with your information (below)

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Send This Message

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Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to urge you to cosponsor S. 2860 (Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act) introduced by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).

A General Accounting Office report cites hundreds of cases where a student was allegedly abused by an inappropriate use of seclusion or restraint, including some cases where the abuse was fatal.

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I urge you to cosponsor the bill and keep our students safe.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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2000 N. Beauregard Street,
6th Floor Alexandria, VA 22311

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