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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Curbing Restraint in Illinois

Zeta Cross at The Center Square:
The Illinois legislature has put an end to the practice of isolating children in “quiet rooms” and the usage of prone physical restraint.

State Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D- Northbrook, said the practice traumatizes children.

“When you take a child who is on the autism spectrum, and that child is having some sort of an episode, you don’t lock that child in a room by themself. That is what we do to our worst criminals,” Carroll said.

In 2019, after reading a joint investigative report by ProPublica and the Chicago Tribune, Carroll became determined to put an end to the practice in Illinois schools. Solitary time-outs are used too readily as a discipline measure, Carroll said.

The authors of the Tribune-ProPublica articles reported on instances where children as young as five were left alone in small rooms for hours at a time.

“We are failing these children,” Carroll said. “There are different pathways that we can go with these kids.”

After 18 months of work, House Bill 219, received bipartisan support and passed unanimously out of the House on May 30. Gov. J.B. Pritzker told Carroll that he intends to sign the legislation when it gets to his desk. The goal of the law is to eliminate solitary time out and prone restraint within three years.