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Bills would include students with disabilities in campus emergency preparations, help break barriers to higher education many people with disabilities face

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced three bills to make education more accessible to students with disabilities and help ensure their safety at school. These policies would make transitions to postsecondary education smoother, campus emergency procedures more accurate, accessible, and inclusive of students with disabilities, improve training for school security and staff, and develop stronger federal oversight and support. 

“Students with disabilities deserve the peace of mind knowing their schools are well-prepared to accommodate them,” Senator Casey said. “By making preparedness plans more inclusive, improving the training of school security and staff, and developing more accurate and accessible emergency procedures, we will send a message to all students that they will be safe and welcome at school.”

The Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower (RISE) Act will provide students with disabilities more affordable options to establish proof of their disability to secure the accommodations they need to thrive in postsecondary education, adopt transparent policies regarding disability services and improve communication of those policies and services to students and their families, and invest $10 million in training college faculty how best to engage with and support students with disabilities.

The Safe Equitable Campus Resources and Education (SECuRE) Act will strengthen the Clery Act, which requires higher education institutions that receive federal financial aid and funding to maintain and disclose campus crime statistics and security information, by requiring postsecondary institutions have accessible information and awareness programs about preventing abuse and attacks targeting people with disabilities, and ensuring administrative disciplinary hearings are accessible, and create more inclusive emergency preparedness protocols and resources accessible to all students regardless of age, developmental stage, and disability status.

The Promoting Responsible Emergency Protocols (PREP) for All Students Act will enable early child care and education settings, elementary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher education to develop inclusive emergency preparedness protocols. A federal advisory council would develop guidelines for the implementation of accessible, developmentally appropriate, culturally aware, and trauma-informed emergency preparedness protocols and submit their recommendations to Congress.