Educators face continuous challenges in maintaining classroom order and discipline. One method that school personnel are allowed to use is to remove a child from a school setting for a “time out.” A November 2019 investigation, by the Chicago Tribune and by the freelance investigative service ProPublica, showed that in some cases, schools turned “time outs” into terrifying episodes of solitary confinement. In other cases, students were physically restrained by adults.
In 2020, lawmakers inquired into the allegations and held hearings on the controversial practices. After an extended discussion that included participation by many stakeholders, including teachers and parents at schools that specialize in teaching children with challenges, legislators crafted language aimed at protecting students and teachers by preventing misuse of these methods of discipline. A bipartisan agreed bill, which won unanimous support in the Illinois General Assembly, will almost completely ban the use of isolated child solitary confinement and physical restraints upon children.
The time-out bill was passed by both chambers as HB 219, approved by the House by a unanimous vote of 114-0-0. The measure now goes to the Governor’s desk for final action.