The Quiet Rooms

Children Locked Away in Illinois Schools

The spaces have gentle names, like “the reflection room.” But shut inside them, schoolchildren as young as 5 wail for their parents, scream in anger and beg to be let out.

This investigation is a collaboration between ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune.

Featured

The Quiet Rooms

Children are being locked away, alone and terrified, in schools across Illinois. Often, it’s against the law.

Other Entries

Illinois Lawmakers Are Calling for a Nationwide Ban on Isolated Timeouts of Students

Four states currently ban the practice of secluding students at school. Illinois lawmakers want Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to make it 50. “This shouldn’t be controversial,” said U.S. Rep. Sean Casten.

Educators Push to Ban Seclusion of Students and Shift School Culture

Educators who testified before Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday agreed: Shutting students inside closet-sized rooms as punishment is never OK.

Inside a Training Course Where School Workers Learn How to Physically Restrain Students

While reporting on the use of physical restraint in schools, I wanted to understand if school workers properly used their training in the classroom. They often did not.

Schools Aren’t Supposed to Forcibly Restrain Children as Punishment. In Illinois, It Happened Repeatedly.

As Illinois moves to restrict the use of physical restraint in schools, records show the practice was often misused, leaving students and staff injured.

How We Reported This Story

We created the first-ever database of thousands of incidents of restraint and seclusion in Illinois.

A 7-Year-Old Complained About a Scary Office at School. This Is the Video His Parents Saw — a Month Later.

“I want accountability,” the boy’s father said. The video prompted one of 21 investigations into abuse at an Illinois school that secluded students more than 1,700 times last school year.

“None of the Children at the School Are Safe”

One school. 21 abuse investigations. And the struggle to stop relying on seclusion and restraint.

Illinois Will Allow Prone, Supine Restraints on Children While Schools Learn to Phase Them Out

The changes to a ban on restraints came after some schools said they could no longer serve children.

There’s an Emergency Ban on Isolated Timeouts in Illinois Schools. What’s Next?

The state board of education said it will refer school workers to law enforcement if they are suspected of committing crimes against children as the emergency ban on seclusion in Illinois public schools goes into effect.

Readers Choked Back Tears. Some Struggled to Keep Reading. We Understand.

A day after our reporting, Illinois ended isolated seclusion of children in schools across the state. What happened? Children’s voices were heard.

Illinois to Take Emergency Action to Halt Isolated Timeouts in Schools

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called the practice of secluding children “appalling” and said he will work with legislators to end it.

The Federal Government Collects Data on How Often Schools Seclude Children. The Numbers Don’t Add Up.

Even though school districts are required to report their use of seclusion and restraint to the U.S. Department of Education, it can be difficult for parents to see the full picture.

How We Reported This Story

We created the first-ever database of thousands of incidents of seclusion in Illinois.

Follow ProPublica Illinois

More from ProPublica