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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Policy on Youth & Education: Overview

Maintain Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Regulations

In 2016, the Department of Education finalized the regulation implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The regulation includes school accountability provisions regarding students with disabilities. February 7, 2017 the House of Representatives passed H.J. Resolution 57, which would overturn the ESSA regulation. The regulation helps to ensure effective state accountability plans and other provisions that provide a framework for school accountability. NCIL urges the U.S. Senate to maintain the federal ESSA regulation with requirements that schools take specific steps to ensure accountability for the education of students with disabilities.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

NCIL believes that IDEA as a civil rights law is a good and necessary law that must be fully implemented and aggressively enforced. Amendments to IDEA must ensure that students with disabilities are afforded the following:

  • an educational program that includes the development of self-advocacy skills, information about their rights, and opportunities to connect with adult role models with disabilities;
  • full access and benefit of education, including academics, extracurricular activities, physical education and social opportunities;
  • appropriate assessments and necessary technology and supports in order to participate in the learning process actively with peers;
  • an equal opportunity to be appropriately challenged in their educational endeavors;
  • schools that are accountable for the success of all students; and
  • due process rights when their civil rights are being denied, regardless of financial resources.

Restraint and Seclusion of Students Must End

Restraining and secluding students causes harm and is proven to be ineffective. Yet restraint and seclusion remains a practice in many schools. The Government Accountability Office reported widespread misuse of restraint and seclusion. Federal legislation is needed to:

  • ban restraint / seclusion except in emergencies where someone is in danger of physical harm;
  • require that parent notification if a student is restrained / secluded on the same day the event occurred;
  • ban restraints that impede breathing, mechanical restraints, and chemical restraints; and
  • prevent restraint / seclusion from being used when less restrictive alternatives would eliminate any danger.

Updated: March 23, 2017.