AURORA, Ill. – Physically restraining and isolating children with behavioral problems will be banned in Illinois schools following a new law backed by state Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, which phases out these damaging measures.
“Kids in our community dealing with mental illnesses deserve kind and considerate treatment from caregivers, even if they’re misbehaving,” Hernandez said. “While their health problems can cause them to act out and disrupt class, that does not justify punishing them without considering their mental condition. Isolation and physical restraints can cause lasting harm to kids with certain mental illnesses, and that must be avoided if at all possible.”
Hernandez put her support behind House Bill 219, which places significant limits on situations that schools can physically restrain or isolate students with mental disabilities. Certain allowances remain for extreme cases with parental permission; however, most physical restraints are no longer permitted. The legislation passed out of the General Assembly almost unanimously and was recently signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“We are going through a period of modernizing mental health care in Illinois,” said Hernandez. “These changes include treating people facing mental health challenges with the respect they deserve. When we fail to consider the impact punishments can have on the mental health of our kids, we end up hurting them, and that has to stop.”