“Faculty in schools across Illinois have been confining students in rooms, completely unaccompanied and with no safety measures in place, as a form of punishment. This practice, which is often a dramatic overreaction to minor misbehavior, can cause lasting physical and psychological damage. For the wellbeing of Illinois’ kids, restricting students to these so-called ‘isolation rooms’ has to stop,” Hernandez said. “Reports of students pleading to be let out of a room to no response, some even hurting themselves in their attempts to escape, paint a clear picture of the true consequences students are dealing with.”
Under current law, school districts are allowed to place students who pose a physical safety risk in isolated timeouts, though reports reveal thousands of incidents in which children were secluded for minor misbehavior. Hernandez is backing House Bill 3975, which prohibits school personnel from confining students in any enclosed space for any reason, including as a method of punishment or behavior control. She emphasized her support for the bill was about eliminating potentially traumatizing experiences as well as promoting a fairer, healthier culture for students.
“I will always work to improve education in our community. Whether students are just starting kindergarten, or working for a degree in a college or vocational school, education can play an incredible role in building up their lives. But when kids as young as six years old are forced into an isolation room, school is breaking them down, and not offering any of the benefits it should,” Hernandez said. “With this terrible punishment gone, we can focus on creating a school system that nurtures learning in every student and helps develop skills to prepare them for good-paying careers in a thriving economy.”