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.
Children are being locked away, alone and terrified, in schools across Illinois. Often, it’s against the law.
The state board of education stopped short of a complete ban on seclusion after a small number of special education schools asked for more leeway in dealing with students.
In six of eight districts investigators examined, they found that workers broke the law by improperly secluding students. Parents say the investigations, which were prompted by a Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois story, have not gone far enough.
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 who testified before Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday agreed: Shutting students inside closet-sized rooms as punishment is never OK.
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.
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.
One school. 21 abuse investigations. And the struggle to stop relying on seclusion and restraint.
The changes to a ban on restraints came after some schools said they could no longer serve children.
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.
A day after our reporting, Illinois ended isolated seclusion of children in schools across the state. What happened? Children’s voices were heard.
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.
We created the first-ever database of thousands of incidents of seclusion in Illinois.