We are a small, but fierce, team of parents, advocates, educators, and other working to effect change, but we have a lot of work ahead of us.
Maryland, United States
Founder and Executive Director
Guy lives in Southern Maryland with his wife and two amazing children. Guy started The Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint to raise awareness about the use of restraint and seclusion in classrooms across our nation. He has been meeting with local, state and federal lawmakers to support legislation to ban seclusion in schools across the nation.
More about the Executive Director
Guy Stephens is a lifelong resident of Maryland, a father, a husband, and an advocate for children’s rights. His journey in advocacy began as a parent, advocating for appropriate accommodations and supports for his neurodivergent son. In 2018 Guy completed the Parents’ Place of Maryland’s LEADers training, a parent leader program to develop leadership skills among parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs. In 2019 Guy completed the Maryland Coalition of Families Family Leadership Institute (FLI) a 60-hour intensive training program for parents and caregivers of school-age children with mental health needs. Guy is currently a member of the Board of Directors for The Arc of Maryland. Guy is a member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) and presented at their 2020 annual conference. Guy is actively working to change policies and practices around the use of restraint and seclusion at the local, state, and federal level.
Guy is the Founder and Executive Director for the Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint (AASR). Restraint and seclusion are outdated crisis management techniques used in schools across the nation. These interventions disproportionately impact disabled, Black, and Brown children. The practices are dangerous and can lead to significant trauma and injuries to students, teachers, and staff. AASR’s mission is to educate the public and connect people who are dedicated to changing minds, laws, policies, and practices so that restraint and seclusion are reduced and eliminated from schools across the nation. AASR believes that our schools should be moving towards neurodevelopmentally informed, trauma-sensitive, biologically respectful, relationship-based ways of understanding, and supporting all students.
Guy believes that we can do better for all children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and if we can we must. He understands that we need to embrace neurodiversity and neuroscience to create safe and inclusive environments to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all.
Pennsylvania, United States
Courtney earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She has spent over 15 years dedicating her professional life to the human services field, working with individuals with both intellectual and physical disabilities. She is the mother of 3 amazing children, the oldest of whom is Autistic. Her goal is to support the removal of barriers for families in their communities.
Our work would not be possible without the help of our amazing volunteers. Our volunteer team is dedicated to reducing and eliminating the use of restraint and seclusion in schools across the world.
Kentucky, United States
Sheena has worked with children for 20 years. She discovered that teachers in her son’s Pre-k classroom were secluding not only her son but other children as a form of punishment. Seeing firsthand the changes in her son and the trauma it caused, she stopped working for the schools and began advocating. She founded Myrelateus, a resource outlet for special needs and Autism.
Florida, United States
Jennifer has a degree in Psychology & Education from Widener University. Her first son was diagnosed at birth with Prader-Willi and XYY. After nearly a decade of the school-based restraints and seclusion, Jennifer felt an obligation to bring awareness and change to outdated laws to ensure that every student’s educational experience is met with safety & dignity.
New Brunswick, Canada
With the support of her husband Sheldon, Chantelle became an active advocate against restraint and seclusion after learning that their daughter was being locked in a room at school in rural New Brunswick. Chantelle’s path to advocacy was paved by her desire to be a part of a community of support for other families. Chantelle hopes to bring positive change to the systems in Canada.
Virginia, United States
Linda Kryvoruka is a retired Nurse Anesthetist who was always interested in Social Justice issues relating to disadvantaged populations, especially regarding school systems and their methods of enforcing behavior. Linda is an alumnus participating in the Transitional Justice Lab at the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, with a special focus on carceral spaces and the school-to-prison pipeline.
Massachusetts, United States
Emily began her advocacy work when her son Cole was born fifteen years ago with Down syndrome. At the age of ten, Cole was repeatedly restrained and secluded in his Massachusetts Elementary School. When learning that Cole’s story was not his alone, Emily knew it was important to focus her advocacy efforts on working to eliminate these dangerous and traumatic practices.
New York, United States
Sam is a self-advocate who is against the use of restraint and seclusion and a supporter of the Keeping All Students Safe Act. Sam was diagnosed with autism at age three. Sam was restrained when he was just five years old until he was fourteen. Sam runs his own photography business. Sam also works to shift the way people think about autism: from “awareness” to “acceptance.”
Maryland, United States
Amer has a master’s degree in Bioinformatics from Johns Hopkins University. He is a native of Washington DC and lives in Potomac, Maryland. He believes that all students with disabilities should be treated with respect, compassion, and dignity. Amer is committed to bringing change in legislation that will abolish restraints and seclusion.
Maryland, United States
Kat has a graduate degree in Public Health from Yale University and has seen the consequences first hand of seclusions and restraints. The devastating and traumatic effects of abuse in classrooms led her on a journey to find solutions to eliminate the practice in all schools. She is a strong believer in mainstreaming students with disabilities. Kat is also fiercely passionate about passing legislation to stop restraints and seclusion.
North Dakota, United States
Teresa is an amazing parent, professional nurse, and advocate. Teresa is guided by the belief that we should not have to change our children to fit the world. Teresa believes that we must change the world for our children. Teresa believes that it is our responsibility to empower and advocate for our children’s needs through collective and purposeful actions.