Congress Must Invest in Safe, Healthy, Inclusive Schools

January 21, 2022 | National

We know school policing and harsh, exclusionary school discipline practices harm students. Rather than making students safer or encourage learning, these practices often:

  • Harm school climate and academic outcomes, 
  • Lead to long-term behavioral and mental health impacts, 
  • Fuel the school-to-prison pipeline,
  • Disproportionately target and harm Black students, other students of color, LGBTQ students, and students with disabilities. 

All children deserve to feel safe and supported in school. We joined 90 civil rights and education organizations to call on Congress to advance critical legislation to provide safe, healthy, and inclusive school climates:

  • Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act: to prevent federal funding from being used for police in schools and instead create a grant program to invest in evidence-based and trauma-informed services that create culturally-sustaining and positive learning environments. 
  • Keeping All Students Safe Act: to prohibit seclusion and restraint; provide states with better training to ensure student safety and establish enforcement systems; and require states to collect and report data to increase transparency and oversight. 
  • Protecting our Students in Schools Act: to eliminate the use of corporal punishment and create a grant program to support trainings and other programming to improve learning environments and reduce exclusionary discipline that disproportionately affects Black children.
  • Safe Schools Improvement Act: to establish federal standards to protect students from bullying and harassment regardless of identity and to invest in restorative approaches to school discipline to prevent pushout and the school-to-prison pipeline that targets Black students, other students of color, and students with disabilities.
  • Ending PUSHOUT Act: to prevent the criminalization and pushout of students from school, especially Black girls and other girls of color, and instead establish a grant program for school districts and nonprofit organizations to reduce exclusionary discipline practices like suspension and expulsion. 

It’s time for Congress to pass this important legislation and invest in safe, healthy, inclusive schools.

Read the full letter here.