Our Team

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.

Guy Stephens

Maryland, United States
He/Him/His

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 autistic 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 Restraint and seclusion are outdated crisis management techniques used in schools across the nation.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.


Our Volunteers

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.

Jasmyne Arianna 
California, United States
She/Her/Hers

Jasmyne is a former at-risk youth and survivor who now advocates against institutional abuse, highlighting the systemic oppression of marginalized groups. Her son’s autism diagnosis led her to educate herself and advocate against seclusion and restraint. She also works with the National Youth Rights Association and is currently working toward a degree in child development.

Debra Pierce Bellare
New York, United States
She/Her/Hers

Debra received her degree in education in Rochester, NY where she has resided for 20 years and has raised 2 children. Debra witnessed her son in a prone restraint when he was 8 years old. Debra has spent years researching and networking, including writing “Sam’s Law” a restraint and seclusion bill for New York State to ban prone restraints and the use of seclusion rooms.

Alexander J. Campbell
Virginia, United States
He/Him/His

Alex is an advocate for students with disabilities and the Executive Director of Campbell Advocacy. Alex is an individual who has autism and an amazing self-advocate. When he was in elementary school, he was subjected to restraint and seclusion for disciplinary reasons. In 2014, Alex began advocating for the need to regulate the use of restraint and seclusion.

Anna Cook
District of Columbia, United States
She/Her/Hers

Anna is a parent advocate who works with families to provide support, community, and education to caregivers of children with disabilities. She recently earned her Master’s degree in Education Policy and Leadership and intends to create policies centered around improving inclusion and accessibility, dismantling ableism, as well as trauma-informed practices.

Jennifer Garzia 
Florida, United States
She/Her/Hers

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 and dignity.

Ann Gaydos
Colorado, United States
She/Her/Hers

Ann worked in the software industry in a previous life but decided to home school her four children after her oldest child was repeatedly hurt by inappropriate and abusive restraints and seclusions in public school, and she could get no help from the administration or school board. Ann enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, writing, and spending time with her family and pets.

Mickey Hughes
Indiana, United States
She/Her/Hers

Mickey recently retired from a public school setting after over 30 years of working as a special educator, school social worker, and behavior specialist. Mickey believes all children deserve to feel safe at home and school. Mickey is committed to working with others to build effective practices for all who struggle with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

Chantelle Hyde
New Brunswick, Canada
She/Her/Hers

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.

Emily LaMarca
Massachusetts, United States
She/Her/Hers

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.

Sam Maloney
New York, United States
He/Him/His

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.”

Shannon McFadden
Maryland, United States
She/Her/Hers

Shannon is the Director of Behavioral Health Programs for Shura, Inc., which has provided residential and employment supports for adults with special needs for over 25 years. Additionally, Shannon is an appointed member of the State Advisory Group through the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention and Youth Services. Her aim is for people to live their best lives.

Sarah McPartland
Washington, United States
She/Her/Hers

Sarah is an elementary school teacher by trade. Sarah is also the parent of two children.  One of her children was restrained six times in two months. Sarah’s other child developed anxiety around her sibling’s experience and a fear of going to school. As a result, Sarah left her job to help her children heal from trauma and advocate for change in the educational system.

Teresa Olafson
North Dakota, United States
She/Her/Hers

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. 

Pamela Ononiwu
Virginia, United States
She/Her/Hers

Pamela believes in compassion, care, and empathy for the most marginalized, vilified, and often forgotten amongst us. Recently, it propelled her to run for School Board in an effort to advance educational policy for special education and other minority children. Pam hopes to continue the conversation on researched best practices in education policy.

Gail Quigley
Gold Coast, Australia
She/Her/Hers

Gail has been a passionate educator for 35 years and has worked in a multitude of roles. Gail is fiercely passionate about shaping our schools to ensure that every student is understood, safe, and able to succeed no matter what their needs. Gail is currently completing a Doctorate Candidature, researching the intersection of complex trauma and disabilities in school aged children.

Sara Jo Soldovieri
New York, United States
She/Her/Hers

Sara Jo is a Ph.D. student studying Inclusive Special Education at Syracuse University. Sara Jo is a trained 1-12 inclusive special educator. Her work centers students with low incidence disabilities in inclusive settings, inclusive higher education, education policy, de-centering whiteness within education, breaking down hierarchies with disability, and pre-service inclusive educator training.

Alexa Zagorites
Virginia, United States
She/Her/Hers

Alexa is an amazing advocate. Alexa’s daughter Gigi was featured in a story that received national media coverage when a photograph of Gigi secluded in a make-shift isolation cell was taken by another student. Alexa fought back. She worked with other parents and advocates to get the first piece of legislation passed in the state of Virginia, Gigi’s Law.


Interns

We are very excited to have two amazing MBA interns joining our team for the 2021 Fall semester. The internship is made possible through collaboration with The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. The Heller School drives positive social change through research, education and public engagement that inform policies and programs designed to address disparities in well-being and social inclusion in a sustainable way.

Imene Bouziane Saidi  
Massachusetts, United States
She/Her/Hers

Imene is a Social Impact MBA student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University concentrating in Child, Youth and Family Services. Imene has received training through the Federation for Children with Social Needs’ Parent Consultant Training Institute, the Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training. Currently she is a Fellow at the Shriver Center/ University of Massachusetts Medical School Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Fellowship Program. Through advocacy, Imene seeks to create impactful systemic changes to better serve and support the disability community’s needs by centering their voices every step of the way. Imene is particularly passionate about combating racial and social inequities experienced by minority youth in the disability community. Imene is also the parent of three amazing young boys.

Abigail Werner
Massachusetts, United States
She/Her/Hers

Abigail is a student at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, where she is earning her degree in socially impactful business administration with a concentration in child, youth and family services. She hails from Louisville, Kentucky, where she witnessed the disturbing, repeated restraint of a 6-year-old autistic classmate in her elementary school. Through her internship with the AASR, she hopes to educate and empower people to advocate against the use of seclusion and restraint so that no child has to experience the lasting trauma of being subjected to this treatment.


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