Democrats to DeVos: Parents must know when seclusion and restraint occurs
The Government Accountability Office has released a report urging the U.S. Department of Education to implement recommendations to address inaccuracies in federal restraint and seclusion data.
In response, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and U.S. Representative Don Beyer (VA-8), on Tuesday led a group of 42 members of Congress, including U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), top Democrat on the HELP Committee, and U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (VA-3), Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee, urging the U.S. Department of Education to implement GAO’s recommendations on collecting accurate data on use of seclusion and restraint in schools.
In a letter to Secretary DeVos, the members warned of the inaccuracies with current data and urged that the Department implement recommendations to make the data they report in the upcoming 2017-2018 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) as accurate as possible.
“Far too often, students are injured and are traumatized when seclusion and restraint are used in schools, particularly students with disabilities, students of color, and boys. Parents and students have a right to a clear and accurate understanding of how often seclusion and restraint occurs in their districts and schools,” the members wrote.
The members continued, “We urge you to immediately implement the GAO’s recommendation. We request that you provide an explanation, including a timeline, for how you will implement these recommendations for the 2017-18 CRDC data collection.”
Joining Murphy and Beyer in sending this letter are U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.), and U.S. Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-3), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Danny Davis (IL-7), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), Gwen Moore (WI-4), Chris Pappas (NH-1), Susie Lee (NV-3), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Abigail Spanberger (VA-7), David Trone (MD-6), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Seth Moulton (MA-6), Chuy Garcia (IL-4), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5), Bobby Rush (IL-1), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Madeleine Dean (PA-4), Donna Shalala (FL-27), Andy Levin (MI-9), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Ruben Gallego (AZ-7), Jason Crow (CO-6), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), David Scott (GA-13), Rick Larsen (WA-2), and Grace Meng (NY-6).
Last year, Murphy, Murray, Beyer and Scott introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act, legislation aimed at protecting students from the dangers of seclusion and restraint practices in school.