2021 was the worst year for on-campus violence since the Columbine shooting in 1999
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the bipartisan Promoting Responsible Emergency Protocols (PREP) for all Students Act to ensure educational institutions are prepared to protect all students—regardless of age, developmental stage and ability. The PREP for All Students Act would ensure public schools, early child care education centers and institutions of higher education have the tools they need to develop inclusive emergency preparedness protocols. U.S. Representatives Susan Wild (D-PA-07) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) introduced companion legislation in the House.
“All students should feel safe and protected in their learning environments,” said Senator Casey. “In order to meet the needs of all children—regardless of age, developmental stage and ability—we must ensure that young children and students with disabilities are not left out of emergency preparedness protocols. The PREP for all Students Act would do this while supporting schools and child care centers by providing the resources they need to keep young people safe. I will continue to advocate for the needs of children with disabilities, and work to pass this legislation to ensure the safety of all students.”
As communities across the country adapt to the intensifying effects of climate change and face a rise in on-campus violence, safety recommendations for schools and child care facilities must evolve to integrate the needs of young children and youth with disabilities. During the 2019-2020 school year, 14 percent of public-school students received special education services. Additionally, 2021 was the worst year for on-campus violence since the Columbine shooting in 1999. The PREP for All Students Act would ensure public schools, early child care education centers and institutions of higher education have the tools they need to develop inclusive emergency preparedness protocols.
Specifically, the PREP for all Students Act would:
- Establish a Federal Advisory Council composed of federal agencies, youth with disabilities and mental health considerations, parents, educators and advocates to develop guidelines and recommendations for the implementation of accessible, developmentally appropriate, culturally aware and trauma-informed emergency preparedness protocols;
- Require the Council to submit a report to Congress that includes, but is not limited to, information about trauma-informed preparedness drills, emergency communications, school safety technology and training for educators, early child care and education staff, administrators and support personnel. This includes training to address racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, religious and disability implicit biases and training to ensure the nondiscriminatory application of protocols and treatment of students; and
- Ensure that schools are provided with accurate information about the needs of specific populations of children, youth and employees during emergency events.
The PREP for All Students Act is supported by the following organizations: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Institute for Childhood Preparedness, National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and Council of Parent and Attorney Advocates (COPAA).
Read more about the PREP for all Students Act here.