“Students with special needs are some of our most vulnerable people in Illinois and they deserve to be protected,” Buckner said. “There are no excuses as to why we are allowing children to face traumatic experiences, especially if they do not realize why they are being punished.”
A recent investigative report by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois revealed that students in Illinois schools were being isolated and secluded as a means of behavior control at alarming rates, disproportionately impacting students with special needs.
Buckner is backing House Bill 3975, to begin the discussion of how current law can be improved to protect children from practices that are detrimental to their mental or physical wellbeing. The legislation would prohibit school personnel from confining students in enclosed spaces as a method of punishment or behavior control. Under current law, school districts are allowed to place students deemed a physical safety risk for any reason into isolated timeouts.
“We need to do better for our kids,” Buckner said. “School should be a place of safety and learning, not a place that inflicts harm on kids through isolation, which has no proven benefits. I will fight to ensure that no child ever again has to go through this traumatic experience.”