The Illinois State Board of Education has amended emergency rules banning seclusion room usage in public schools. The amendment temporarily allows prone and supine physical restraints in narrow circumstances and only for severe crisis situations to protect the safety of students and staff. The amendment will give schools time to transition to the use of alternate interventions without causing students to be disenrolled. The amendment mandates that other less restrictive and intrusive interventions have been tried first and have not succeeded in stopping the danger.
The amendment requires that one staff person trained in identifying the signs of distress observe the student during the entire incident of prone or supine physical restraint. The amendment also requires an additional layer of review if a student is restrained in a prone or supine position in at least two separate instances within a 30-school day period. The emergency rulemaking extends for 150 days from its initial filing on November 19th.
The rule stems from a scathing report made by ProPublica in the middle of November about Illinois’ schools abuses of using seclusion rooms for students deemed problematic by faculty and staff. Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered ISBE to take immediate corrective action and also began an investigation from his office into the alleged abuses.