Supporting the Keeping All Students Safe Act

A Guide to Writing Your Representative

Recently the Keeping All Students Safe Act was reintroduced by Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08), Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and Congressman Donald McEachin (VA-04).

The Keeping All Students Safe Act would make it illegal for any school receiving federal taxpayer money to seclude children and would ban dangerous restraint practices that restrict children’s breathing, such as prone or supine restraint.  The bill would also prohibit schools from physically restraining children, except when necessary to protect students and staff.  The bill would better equip school personnel with the training they need to address school-expected behavior with evidence-based proactive strategies, require states to monitor the law’s implementation, and increase transparency and oversight to prevent future abuse of students.

Now is the time to take action to ask your representatives to support legislation to reduce and eliminate the practices of restraint and seclusion.

Let’s get started

  1. Steps for writing a letter of support
  2. Basic template
  3. Sample letter
  4. Sending via email
  5. Frequently asked questions

Steps for writing a letter of support


  1. Start with the date.
  2. Write your full name and address. 
  3. Address the receiver as “The Honorable”.
  4. Follow “The Honorable” by their full name.
  5. State their address, including their room number. 
  6. Have a subject line that clearly states the bill number.


  1. Start the letter with a salutation, using your representative’s title followed by their surname. Representatives can go by many titles. Often times, a representative’s social media accounts will tell you which title they prefer. 
  2. State the purpose of your letter in the first sentence. 
  3. State that you are a constituent and specify your county. Having this at the beginning of the letter will place your letter at a higher priority than others. 
  4. State your relationship to the issue of restraint and seclusion (parent, student, advocate, etc..)
  5. State your top three reasons for supporting the bill. Data and research are a huge plus. Research what your representative is passionate about and be sure to include that in your letter. For instance, Alex’s representative made fiscal responsibility a top priority, so he included that in his letter below. If your representative has prioritized equity or ending abuse, those are both great things to mention. 
  6. If you have a personal story, share it. You can talk about something you’ve been through, a family member has been through, or you can talk about how KASSA will positively affect your community. If your legislator gets emotional or sympathetic because of what you share with them, they are more likely to support the legislation. 
  7. Re-state number one, by reminding them how you would like them to vote.
  8. Ask for a response and thank the reader for their time. 


  1. Sign your name 
  2. Type your name

Basic template


(Your name) 
(Your street address) 
(Your city, state, and zip code)

The Honorable/Representative/Congressman/Congresswoman (First name) (Last name) 
(Their street address followed by their room number)
Washington, DC 20515

RE: (state the topic or include the bill number, author and subject if you are writing to support or oppose a particular legislative bill)

Dear (Title) (Last name):

I am writing to you to encourage you to support the Keeping All Students Safe Act. My name is (your first and last name) and I am a (relationship to the issue) who resides in your district.

(State why you support or oppose the bill or other issue here. Choose up to three of the strongest points that support your position and state them clearly.)

(Include a personal story. Tell your representative why the issue is important to you and how it affects you, your family member and your community.)

I would like you to vote in support of the Keeping All Students Safe Act and would appreciate a response to my letter. Thank you for your time.



Type your name 

Sample letter

November 23, 2020 

Alexander J. Campbell 
101 Any Road
Powhatan, VA 23139

The Honorable Jane Doe 
0000 Longworth House Office Building RM 00 
Washington, DC 20515

RE: The Keeping All Students Safe Act

Dear Congresswoman, Doe: 

I am writing to you to encourage you to support the Keeping All Students Safe Act. My name is Alexander Campbell, I am an autistic self-advocate, and 10th grader in high school. I reside in Powhatan County.

I believe it is necessary to pass the Keeping All Students Safe Act to ensure students are safe at school. Restraint and seclusion have caused deaths, injuries, and often results in life-long trauma for both students and staff.

Restraint and seclusion also disproportionately impact students with disabilities, boys, and students of color. The US Department of Education (1) recently found that while students with disabilities make up 13% of all students, they make up 80% of the students who were physically restrained between 2017 and 2018, 41% of the students who were mechanically restrained between 2017 and 2018, and 77% of the students who were subjected to seclusion between 2017 and 2018. 18% of students with disabilities were black between 2017 and 2018, yet they made up 26% of students with disabilities who were physically restrained between 2017 and 2018, 34% of students with disabilities who were mechanically restrained between 2017 and 2018, and 22% of students with disabilities who were secluded between 2017 and 2018. While boys made up 66% of students with disabilities, they made up 83% of students with disabilities who were physically restrained between 2017 and 2018, 82% of students with disabilities who were mechanically restrained between 2017 and 2018, and 84% of students with disabilities who were secluded between 2017 and 2018. To change these tragic numbers, we must pass the Keeping All Students Safe Act.

Restraint and seclusion use is also extremely fiscally irresponsible. One school in Virginia stopped using seclusion and significantly decreased their usage of restraint. In 13 years, they saved $16 million in lost time expenses, turnover costs, and workers’ compensation policy costs (2). In passing the Keeping All Students Safe Act, we can help ensure that taxpayer money is being better spent in our schools.

As someone who is a survivor of restraint and seclusion, this issue is extremely important to me. While I experienced dozens of instances of restraint and seclusion in four of our state’s schools, I would like to tell about two of those instances. When I was 7 years old, my principal would literally drag me out of the time out area and into the seclusion room. After being shoved into the seclusion room, the principal would slam the door shut and pull a large wooden desk across the door so I could not leave. I remember hearing the scraping sound of the desk as it moved across the door, knowing that I was there, alone. The seclusion room itself was a converted storage closet with walls painted black and had a barred window. Not only did the principal put me in the seclusion room, he told me that if I ever told my parents he would lock me in that room every day. These rooms are dark and scary for children. At a different school, I was subjected to a restraint that sent me to the hospital. The teacher used a restraint that involved grabbing me by the throat and slamming me on the floor. She kept slamming me on the floor until I couldn’t stand up anymore. Even individuals that train people on how to perform restraints, will admit that this was not a restraint. This was a pure act of physical violence, to assert dominance and authority. The school later admitted that she was improperly trained. The school was placed on an improvement plan by the State, but nothing happened to the teacher. Instead, the school moved the teacher to a non-verbal classroom, so she could repeat the same behaviors, and no one would have a voice to stand up for themselves.

I would like you to vote in support of the Keeping All Students Safe Act and would appreciate a response to my letter. Thank you for your time.


Alexander J. Campbell


Sending via email

  • The same guidelines apply to email as to written letters
  • Before sending an email, you might want to call the legislator’s office and ask if a letter sent by e-mail is effective
  • If you do send an email, send it to the representative directly and do not create a mass email chain
  • Make it a brief message with no special layouts or graphics
  • Do not include attachments
  • You might also want to send a hard copy of your e-mail to the legislator

Frequently asked questions

  1. How do I find my legislator? You can search the directory for the United States House or Senate. Common Cause also has a great tool to find your elected officials.  
  2. Why haven’t I heard back? Most legislative offices make their best effort to reply to every correspondence, especially ones from constituents. Due to the large volume of mail and emails they receive, it is difficult for legislators to respond in a timely manner. Also remember, if you mailed your letter, mail has to go through an extensive off-site screening process before going to the legislator. 
  3. How long should my letter be? Keep your letter between one and two pages. Legislative offices do not have the capacity or time to read and respond to lengthy letters, so a five or six page letter will most likely be thrown away. 
  4. Do I need to cite sources? You don’t have to, but we highly recommend it. Citing sources gives legislators something to go off of if they’re new to the topic and it shows them that you have extensive knowledge of the topic. 
  5. Do you have grammar tips? Use proper capitalization, spelling and punctuation; avoid contractions and repetition; and remember to always proofread. A legislator can tell the difference between someone who took the time to write a letter and someone who threw it together. 
  6. Do you have additional tips? Always be kind and respectful. A nasty letter will most likely end up in the trash. If you were a donor, campaign volunteer, or even voted for the person, say that – it will help! If you use our template, you should have a fantastic letter ready to send in no time!
Categories People, Restraint, School, SeclusionTags
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