The Center for Learner Equity applauds the reintroduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA). Students with disabilities experience disproportionately high rates of restraint and seclusion in public schools, and we need this bill to address this dangerous inequity.
We are heartened to see that the act provides funding to schools to provide personnel training in the use of de-escalation techniques, conflict management, and evidence-based positive behavioral interventions and supports. This focus will help schools support the needs of students and safely address the source of their behaviors—a better result for everyone.
With this new focus on positive behavior management, we urge schools and districts to go one step further and discontinue the hiring, recruitment, and placement of law enforcement officers, including school resource officers, in K-12 educational institutions. Data shows that students with disabilities are subject to disproportionate in-school arrests, a pattern that subjects students to unnecessary trauma and contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline. Further, there is a significant lack of data showing that law enforcement in schools has a positive effect on school safety.
With a holistic approach to behavior management that draws on data-driven best practices, we can create a school environment that is safer and more positive for every child.