News from National Convention—Resolutions

Source: One Voice Illinois

One of the important business items at the National PTA Convention is adoption of resolutions. PTA resolutions and position statements are official documents outlining the opinion, will, or intent of the association to address national problems, situations, or concerns that affect children and youth and require national action to seek resolution on the issue. They serve an important purpose in formalizing and focusing the positions of the association on various important and relevant issues.

At the 2015 National PTA Convention, three resolutions were considered:

All three resolutions were adopted as originally written or with minor amendments.

Preventing Solicitation of Adult Products to Minors

The resolution on preventing the solicitation of adult products to minors focused on advertising targeting children for adult products, as research indicates that such advertising has a significant effect on children’s decision making about such products.

The resolution directs the National PTA and its constituent associations to support legislation that would prohibit knowingly providing information that would be harmful to minors or selling materials to minors that are illegal as well as legislation that would penalize those who violate online solicitation laws. Such products include but are not limited to pornography, tobacco, electronic cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and gambling. Marijuana was explicitly added to the list of items illegal for minors at convention since some states have begun legalizing its use for adults. The resolution also directs PTA to work with state, federal, and other agencies to educate families, schools, and communities on tools and services to help prevent the illegal solicitation of children.

Restraint and Seclusion

The resolution on restraint and seclusion focused on the use of such practices to control students. The use of restraint and seclusion on children in public schools by untrained school personnel has resulted in injury, trauma, and in some cases death. The resolution directs the PTA to take five specific actions:

  • Support legislation, regulations, policies, and programs that emphasize the use of positive or non-aversive interventions, thereby limiting the use of restraint and seclusion.
  • Support legislation, regulations, policies, and programs that ensure the safety of children in emergency cases where restraint and seclusion is necessary.
  • Use educational literature, programs, and projects to educate the school community and parents about the risks of excessive or inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion by untrained school personnel.
  • Support legislation, regulations, policies, and programs that provide for the use of restraint and seclusion only as a last resort for emergency situations (i.e., an unanticipated and already occurring event that places the individual or others in imminent danger of physical harm) and not as a substitute for comprehensive school-wide supports and accommodations. The use of restraint and seclusion is to end as soon as the immediate danger of harm has ended.
  • PTA will advocate for pre-emptive engagement and education of parents of all children who may be subject to restraint and seclusion regarding its emergency use.

Sexual Harassment

The resolution on sexual harassment notes that 40% of middle and high school students report being victims of sexual violence or sexual harassment, and the most common location of such harassment is at school. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 addresses discrimination on the basis of sex including sexual harassment or sexual violence, but it only applies to institutions that receive federal funding and does not require prevention strategies or support services for victims.

In response, this resolution calls on the PTA to support strengthening Title IX and other federal, state, and local laws that identify, prohibit, and address the effects of sexual harassment and sexual violence. The PTA will also collaborate with school administrations and community partners to ensure that every school:

  • Provides support services for victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence.
  • Presents awareness and prevention programs that address sexual harassment and sexual violence affecting students.
  • Includes training on the responsibilities of educational institutions as well as the rights of victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence under Title IX and other laws and regulations.

Next Steps

Since these resolutions call for PTA to support legislation, you can find out more about them by joining National PTA’s Take Action Network. The network will send you updates when legislation is pending on issues of concern and makes it simple to contact your legislators with prepared talking points on the issue. Illinois PTA has a similar Legislative Network that you can join to follow issues at the state level. Sign up for both networks today to support your child and every child by adding your voice to PTA’s one voice.