Fairfax County Special Education PTA Receives Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award
The Fairfax County Special Education PTA has been named the recipient of the National PTA’s 2021 Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award. This is one of five national advocacy awards given to PTAs around the country by National PTA.
The Fairfax County Special Education PTA was recognized for demonstrating “true dedication and leadership through their determined advocacy on the issue of restraint and seclusion in schools,” according to the National PTA. The group shared information on the negative effects of restraint and seclusion—including post-traumatic stress disorder, physical injury and even death—as part of its efforts to educate the public on this practice. It worked with partners to adopt a position statement based on the National PTA’s 2015 resolution on restraint and seclusion and the National PTA’s endorsement of the 2020 Keeping All Students Safe Act.
The Fairfax County Special Education PTA also explained that restraint and seclusion are disproportionately used against students with disabilities and students of color, and highlighted the issue as one of racial equity and access to a free and appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In doing so, the Fairfax County Special Education PTA engaged its community to call for substantial reforms by the Fairfax County School Board regarding the use and documentation of restraint and seclusion in Fairfax County Public Schools. As a result of their advocacy, a new policy was passed on December 17, 2020, banning seclusion and limiting restraint use in Fairfax County Public Schools.
The group will be recognized at the 2021 National PTA Virtual Legislative Conference on Wednesday, March 10.