In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the use of restraint and seclusion. Many posts have mentioned these techniques, both in schools and facilities for people with disabilities.
State lawmakers said Monday that they will push for a law to ban face-down restraint of children in Illinois schools after learning that education officials had reversed their positions and decided to allow the controversial practice.
The lawmakers’ response came after the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois reported Monday that the Illinois State Board of Education, pressured by a few schools that regularly use prone restraint, quietly decided to allow the technique until July 2021 with the hope that it would then be phased out.
“Prone restraints carry the most serious risk to students and are unacceptable. When students return to school after the Stay at Home order, they should not be put in a situation where their most basic dignity can be stripped away,” Sen. Ann Gillespie, a Democrat from Arlington Heights, said in a statement.
Gillespie and Rep. Jonathan Carroll, a Democrat from Northbrook, introduced legislation in the Senate and House last fall that would ban isolated timeouts and limit the use of physical restraints in schools after a ProPublica Illinois-Tribune investigation, “The Quiet Rooms,” revealed widespread misuse of both. Their bills, as filed, did not directly address prone restraint.
More than 30 states already ban prone restraints. ISBE had originally voted to ban the practice, but the agency then reluctantly “negotiated” with the legislative rule-making committee to allow prone restraint for a year, a spokeswoman said.
Of the 149 public comments submitted to ISBE to advocate for prone restraint, more than 60% came from individuals affiliated with Giant Steps or Marklund Day School, two small private schools that serve students with autism. They said the restraint is effective for students who have difficulty regulating their emotions and is safe when done properly.