Senator Gillespie

SPRINGFIELD – A ban on prone restraint and guidelines on use of seclusion rooms in schools championed by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) was signed into law today.

“This law makes a commitment to our most vulnerable students that their school will be a safe learning environment,” Gillespie said. “No child should be subject to abuse at school.”

After an investigation revealed that seclusion rooms are often used as a punishment for refusing to do classwork, swearing and otherwise non-threatening behavior, Senator Gillespie introduced legislation to address these abuses.

The new law prohibits a school employee or contractor from secluding children as disciplinary action and limits the use of restraint only to instances allowed by the Illinois State Board of Education, which clarified its rules in late 2019. It also establishes priority access to grant funding for schools that reduce or eliminate the use of prone restraint and isolated time out in less than three years.

“This is the most important legislation of my career,” said the House sponsor State Rep. Jonathan Carroll (D-Northbrook). “From a first-hand perspective, I can speak to the impacts of how damaging these interventions are for children. Even 35 years later, the nightmares still exist. These interventions are used on our most hardened criminals and should not be used on children.”

House Bill 219 is effective immediately.