NASDSE Statement on Racism and EquityRacism has a longstanding history in the United States and a systemic and pervasive foothold in many societal institutions, including criminal justice, healthcare, and education.
NASDSE condemns and rejects racism and inequities in all forms and the systemic manner in which it is used to oppress African Americans, such as the horror America witnessed while George Floyd was murdered.
Racism is a civil rights issue, and as such, a disability rights issue. In the K-12 environment, racism takes many forms, such as low expectations and cultural biases. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which we uphold in every U.S. state and territory, is a civil rights law, grounded in the notion that students with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education, free from hurt, harm, or danger.
In the K-12 environment, one such danger is in the use of restraint. This dangerous and inhumane practice forcibly restricts a student’s ability to move and is generally used as punishment.
Prone restraint has been demonstrated to cause trauma, physical injury, and death, and is disproportionately used on students with disabilities and African American boys. Prone restraint mirrors the method used to extinguish George Floyd’s life and countless others. Most distressing is the lengthy history of restraint being the cause of student deaths in schools.
NASDSE urgently calls on the elimination of prone restraint of students in the nation’s schools, beginning in the 2020-21 school year. We demand that elected officials drive systemic changes such as this, which will reform policies and practices which have allowed racism to flourish, unabated.
Our students will return to school buildings in the fall, having lost academic gains, family members to COVID-19, and experienced unspeakable trauma. The education community cannot allow restraint to be yet another horror inflicted on our students.