JACKSON, Miss. – Keeping your kids safe is the goal behind a two-year $350,000 grant awarded to the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The ACLU aims to restrict the usage of seclusion and restraint on students disabilities and students of color in schools as disciplinary action.
The project will engage of civic, community, corporate, and congregational leaders, promote public awareness, monitor use of restraint and seclusion in school districts and advocate for the implementation of positive behavior interventions and supports that are safe, effective, and evidence-based.
“We are hoping that through this process to collect data it makes the public aware of how the use of restraints and seclusion is harmful to children. We are hoping through this grant we will create safe spaces in our schools for children,” said Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the ACLU of Mississippi.
Collins says children with disabilities are six times more likely to have restraints and selection techniques used against them compared to other children. She says restraints can be anything from the use of handcuffs to taping a child to a chair, and that seclusion can be anything from sending a child to another room or locking a child in a closet for a period of time. Currently Mississippi is one of five state that lack a statute, regulation, or even nonbinding guidelines for the use of seclusion and restraint on disabled children.