SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation backed by state Rep. Suzanne Ness, D-Crystal Lake, which would call for ridding the use of isolated seclusion and physical restraints in Illinois public and private schools recently passed unanimously out of the Illinois House of Representatives.
“It is gravely concerning to hear of the stories of students who have experienced isolated seclusion in schools, and the trauma many have endured as a result,” said Ness. “Reports of many of these incidents showed that isolation and seclusion was prompted after minor infractions, which violated Illinois law. It is our responsibility as an elected body to ensure that our laws are protecting the people we serve, and we must do more for the special needs students who have been heavily impacted by these techniques.”
Ness is highlighting her support for House Bill 219, which makes changes concerning the adoption of rules by the State Board of Education governing time out and physical restraint in public schools. Further, this bill would require a meeting with school personnel if requested by the parent or guardian about instances when such practices are used, as well as strengthens reporting and documentation requirements for schools.
In November of 2019, the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois released an investigative report that students in Illinois schools were being isolated and secluded, and the students heavily impacted were those with special needs. It was reported that parents were often told little about these cases of confinement and restraint, and that the practice has no therapeutic or educational value, but rather can be extremely traumatizing for children. The goal of House Bill 219 is to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of these interventions in all Illinois schools.
“We know from experts that the use of these potentially traumatizing interventions carries risks to the health and safety of students,” said Ness. “I am pleased to have supported this critical piece of legislation and am committed to working to ensure that all parents can feel good about their child’s safety in school and will continue to advocate for better treatment options for children with special needs.”