Protecting Illinois Students from Seclusion and Restraint Practices


December 2, 2020 | by Emma Olson

Support the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA)

We are excited to share the introduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA), a federal bill prohibiting seclusion and dangerous restraint practices in schools in all 50 states. We also applaud the sponsors of the bill, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Patty Murray along with our Illinois delegates, Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Representatives Don Beyer, Bobby Scott, and Donald McEachin, for leading this effort to protect students with disabilities who have been disproportionately impacted by these dangerous discipline practices.

The most current data from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) reveals that almost 102,000 students were subjected to seclusion or restraint during the 2017-18 school year. In Illinois, schools reported using seclusion or restraint “at least 23,530 times on at least 5,197 students.” Moreover, the CRDC reveals that of the students restrained or secluded, almost 80 percent were students with disabilities and a disproportionate number of students identified as Black and as boys. For years, mentally and physically abusive seclusion and restraint has been used in schools. Now it is time to set federal standards to protect all students, including students with disabilities, from the unacceptable usage of these methods.

KASSA would make it illegal for any school receiving federal funds to seclude children and would ban dangerous restraint practices that restrict students’ breathing, such as prone or supine restraint. The bill would also prohibit schools from physically restraining children, except when necessary to protect students and staff. Lastly, the bill would better equip school personnel with the training they need to address school-expected behavior with evidence-based proactive strategies. For more details, please see this factsheet.

If you have any questions, please contact our Education Policy Analyst, Chris Yun, at 312-640-2134 or

Access Living strongly supports the Keeping All Students Safe Act and calls upon Congress to swiftly pass the bill to provide a safe learning environment to all students, including students with disabilities.