Protect Illinois Students from Seclusion and Restraint Practices


January 30, 2020 | by Amber Smock

Action Alert: Seclusion, Restraint, and Students with Disabilities

Share your comments and stories with the Illinois State Board of Education by Monday, February 3rd


Chris Yun

Education Policy Analyst

(312) 640-2134

Since the Chicago Tribune/ProPublica investigation on the use of isolated seclusion rooms was published in November of 2019, public outrage has generated an incredible and swift response.

The day after the investigation was published, state education officials issued emergency rules that banned school use of locked seclusion rooms and stipulated that restraints were only to be used in emergency situations.

On January 7, 2020, Illinois legislators held a hearing on seclusion and restraint and heard advocates’ voices urging them to end the practice of secluding students inside small rooms. Advocates also told the legislators that ending illegal seclusion and restraint practices in Illinois would need a cultural shift in schools.

At Access Living, we are closely monitoring these developments and working with colleagues to ensure that any rule making or related legislation consider the impact of seclusion and restraint on students with disabilities.

What you can do

ISBE has put forth proposed rules that if passed would go into effect this spring. It is critical that the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) hears from advocates and families regarding their proposed rules regarding isolated seclusion and dangerous physical restraints.

Although it’s not perfect, ISBE’s proposed rules are a step in the right direction and they are seeking advocates’ input by midnight on Monday, February 3. Stories, comments, input, and questions should be directed to:

Azita Kakvand
(217) 782-6510 Agency Rules Coordinator
Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street Springfield, Illinois 62777-0001

For people who are not familiar with what “giving input” means, it is ok to simply send a letter or email sharing your story or your thoughts on the proposed rules, and/or to share why/how isolation/seclusion/restraint of students with disabilities is a problem. It is also ok to share your input even if you are not from Illinois.

What’s Next?

AL and other disability rights advocacy organizations are diligently working on our official comments on the proposed rules banning isolated seclusion and inappropriate physical restraint practices in Illinois schools. Please look for our Action Alert early next week for our official comments and last-minute tips for sending your comment on the proposed rules to ISBE.