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Stop torturing children!

Friday, Dec 20, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Jennifer Smith Richards of the Chicago Tribune and Jodi S. Cohen and Lakeidra Chavis of ProPublica Illinois

An analysis of more than 15,000 physical restraints in 100 Illinois school districts from August 2017 to early December 2018 found that about a quarter of the interventions began without any documented safety reason. Instead, they often happened after a student was disrespectful, profane or not following rules. These instances violate a 20-year-old state law that allows children to be restrained at school only for safety reasons.

Records show that most of the children restrained had behavioral or intellectual disabilities.

The law defines physical restraint as holding a student or otherwise restricting the child’s movement. The student can be standing, seated or lying down. A brief hold intended to keep students safe or to escort them from one place to another is not considered a restraint. Illinois law prohibits the use of mechanical restraints, such as straps or handcuffs, in schools. […]

In 50,000 pages of school records reviewed by reporters, aides and teachers documented numerous injuries to the children they had restrained: Cuts on the students’ hands, scratches on necks and noses. Collarbones that hurt to touch. Knots on their heads and split lips. Sore ankles and wrists.

In at least two dozen incidents, schools called an ambulance for a child.

You hurt a kid enough that it requires an ambulance call, you should be arrested. Also, where the heck is DCFS on this?

* More

The schools examined as part of this investigation likely represent a fraction of the number that actually used physical restraint in Illinois. The 100 school districts and special-education cooperatives included in the analysis were selected because they previously reported using seclusion to the federal government or because they exclusively served students with disabilities.

Many more districts — more than 280 — reported to the U.S. Department of Education that they had used physical restraint in the 2015-16 school year, the most recent data available. Even that number is likely an undercount, as the federal database relies on self-reporting from districts and is known to omit information. […]

Restraints in a prone position are particularly dangerous because they can cut off a child’s ability to breathe. Officials from the state Board of Education, which was not monitoring schools’ use of seclusion or restraint, said in an interview they did not know the extent to which Illinois children were being put in prone restraints. A board official noted it was not required by law to keep track.

The board, which put emergency restrictions in place on all restraints in the wake of “The Quiet Rooms,” is moving to ban prone restraints permanently.

* Ugh

For 11-year-old Austin Kelly, being restrained or secluded has been a routine part of his time at school, his family told reporters.

The school he attends, the Kansas Treatment and Learning Center in east-central Illinois, restrained students at least 171 times from August 2017 to early December of last year, records show. Officials from the Eastern Illinois Area Special Education district did not respond to requests for comment. […]

About three dozen districts examined for this investigation had restrained children at least 100 times between August 2017 and December 2018. For some, it was many more.

In Mount Prospect, the Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization, or NSSEO, reported 2,078 incidents of physical restraint. The total for the Southern Will County Cooperative for Special Education in Joliet was 1,424. For the Northern Suburban Special Education District in Highland Park, or NSSED, 1,175.

State records show each of those entities enrolls fewer than 425 children.

* More

Of the 15,000 restraints analyzed by reporters, roughly 1,300 lasted 15 minutes or longer. About 260 went on for more than 30 minutes — with more than a quarter of those involving children being held faceup or facedown on the floor.

Some children had medical conditions that made restraint unsafe for them, but school staff physically restrained them anyway in apparent violation of state law, the investigation found. […]

Restraints that can obstruct breathing, including prone restraints, are prohibited in 31 states for all children and in a handful more just for students with disabilities. Last month, three California school workers were charged with involuntary manslaughter after the death of a student with autism who had been restrained prone. […]

Reporters’ analysis of school records found that “floor restraints” — both prone and supine — were used in about two dozen of the 100 districts analyzed. Together, districts used these restraints nearly 1,800 times in the 15-month period examined.

Thirteen-hundred of those floor restraints were in the prone position, and three districts accounted for the majority of those incidents. A.E.R.O. used prone restraint 530 times in 15 months; the Southwest Cook County Cooperative Association for Special Education, more than 300 times.

There’s so much more. Click here to read the rest.

* React from Rep. Jonathan Carroll…

As a parent, I’m angry. As a legislator, I’m outraged. As a child who was punitively restrained, it’s humiliating.


  1. - Out Here In The Middle - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 12:29 pm:

    It’s amazing how people can rationalize these actions against children simply because the child is “difficult”.

    A Central IL administrator was on the radio denouncing the new rules as a “knee jerk political action” by ISBE. Yes, I guess its political in the sense that there is literally no way to say that you locked a child in a room with no supervision and make it seem acceptable.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 12:32 pm:

    This makes me ill, angry, and saddened.


    This is torture, this needs to end.

  3. - Cassandra - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 12:56 pm:

    DCFS would probably investigate a case of improper restraint especially if a child got injured.

    But where does that get us. Maybe somebody gets fired, but this problem seems to be more than a few bad apples. I’ve never been confronted with an out of control person, so I don’t know what they’re supposed to do, but this sounds like a systemic issue to me. What do the best practices folks recommend? Why have current guidelines failed?

    Looking at you educational system leaders.

  4. - Nick Name - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 1:00 pm:

    ===For 11-year-old Austin Kelly, being restrained or secluded has been a routine part of his time at school, his family told reporters.===

    Lord Jesus have mercy. What is wrong with people?

  5. - FormerParatrooper - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 1:11 pm:

    This is vile.

  6. - Perrid - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:02 pm:

    “You hurt a kid enough that it requires an ambulance call, you should be arrested.”

    Not a bad knee jerk reaction, but I’d want to know more about how the injury happened before making sweeping statements. If a teenager is punching and you push them away and they fall and get hurt, that’s not abuse. Now there’s basically no way that ALL of the ambulance trips could be waved away like that, but the possibility exists.

    Restraints or seclusion shouldn’t be used as a way to discipline children

  7. - Papa2008 - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    It’s not about discipline, it’s about control. And anytime someone tries to control someone else, bad things are bound to happen. Make no mistake, these schools, administrators, and staff are about control. Not teaching. Pathetic.

  8. - Maryjane - Friday, Dec 20, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    “15,000 physical restraints in 100 Illinois school districts from August 2017 to early December 2018″

    I can’t but help flash ahead ten years and visualize 15,000 mass shootings that no one will be able to figure out.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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