Seclusion rooms face public scrutiny

Following a public outcry about the investigation released by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica detailing the use of isolation rooms throughout the state’s public schools, a joint Senate and House Education Committee held their first hearing about the controversial practice.

The scathing report described overuse of physical restraint and isolated timeouts, prompting state lawmakers to gather on January 7th for a joint hearing in Chicago to discuss legislation to ban the use of solitary confinement rooms.

According to the report, more than 20,000 incidents of isolation were used in schools in less than two years.

Until the report, students could be isolated or restrained if they were deemed a safety threat to themselves or others. After the report was released, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) took action to ban “isolated seclusion” in schools.

Further investigation is being done by the ISBE to gather data on public schools’ seclusion practices and incidents. Meanwhile, two bills—Senate Bill 2315 and House Bill 3975—have been introduced to ban schools from placing a student in seclusion.

Steve McClure

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