Ill. State Board of Education takes steps to end isolated seclusion, physical restraint in schools

Published: Nov. 20, 2019 at 1:45 PM CST
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - The Illinois State Board of Education announced it will take emergency action to end the use of isolated seclusion and physical restraint in Illinois schools.

According to ISBE, it will also take steps to improve data collection on all instances of time-out and physical restraint in schools, as well as immediately start investigating known cases of isolated seclusion.

ISBE will take the following steps impacting all public schools, cooperatives, private special education facilities and other educational entities serving public school students:

  • File emergency rules today to: 
  • Issue an advisory notice today to school districts, superintendents, and special education cooperatives reiterating the emergency rules and guidance.  
  • Create a required State form for school districts to use to document and to provide thorough information to parents and guardians when time-out or physical restraint is used. 
  • Add a physical inspection of time-out spaces to the monitoring conducted by Regional Offices of Education.  
  • Issue updated guidance and provide technical assistance to the field on appropriate uses of time-out and physical restraint. 

Additionally, the Governor’s Office will file a complaint on behalf of all known cases of isolated seclusion to expedite the investigative process and require a report to be returned within 60 days of the notification.

ISBE will make determinations whether the educational entity violated federal or state special education requirements.

“Isolated seclusion will end now; it traumatizes children, does lasting damage to the most vulnerable and violates the most deeply held values of my administration and the State of Illinois. The use of this unacceptable practice in districts around the state for several years is appalling, and I am demanding complete and immediate accountability,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I have directed ISBE to take immediate action to ban isolated seclusion in Illinois schools, investigate any case where isolated seclusion was used illegally in the past, and mandate strict reporting on any form of time-out moving forward. I also pledge to work closely with the General Assembly to take additional steps to codify these emergency rules and take any additional steps to protect all the children of this state.”

The Illinois Education Association, which represents more than 135,000 members, supported ISBE’s emergency actions.

According to ISBE, unlawful use of time-out and restraint includes using these practices as a form of punishment. Time-out and restraint are lawful only when used to protect the safety of students and staff in certain rare crisis situations.

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