Illinois - Restraint and Seclusion: Prohibitions or Restrictions

Area: 
Prohibitions Or Restrictions
Policy Type: 
regulation; statute
Summary: 

State law requires districts to adopt policies limiting use of restraint and seclusion that include comprehensive student protections, including the provision of mandatory training for school personnel.

Illinois Administrative Code 23-1.280 Discipline

c) Any use of isolated time out or physical restraint permitted by a board's policy shall conform to the requirements of Section 1.285. If isolated time out or physical restraint is to be permitted, the policy shall include:

  • 1) the circumstances under which isolated time out or physical restraint will be applied;
  • 2) a written procedure to be followed by staff in cases of isolated time out or physical restraint;
  • 3) designation of a school official who will be informed of incidents and maintain the documentation required pursuant to Section 1.285 when isolated time out or physical restraint is used;
  • 4) the process the district or other administrative entity will use to evaluate any incident that results in an injury that the affected student (or the responsible parent or guardian), staff member, or other individual identifies as serious;
  • 5) a description of the alternative strategies that will be implemented when determined advisable pursuant to Section 1.285(f)(4); and
  • 6) a description of the district's or other administrative entity's annual review of the use of isolated time out or physical restraint, which shall include at least:
    • A) the number of incidents involving the use of these interventions,
    • B) the location and duration of each incident,
    • C) identification of the staff members who were involved,
    • D) any injuries or property damage that occurred, and
    • E) the timeliness of parental notification and administrative review.

d) In addition to, or as part of, its policy on the maintenance of discipline, each board of education shall adopt policies and procedures regarding the use of behavioral interventions for students with disabilities who require intervention. Each board's policies and procedures shall conform to the requirements of Section 14-8.05(c) of the School Code.


Illinois Compiled Statutes 105-5-10-20.33 Time out and physical restraint.

Until rules are adopted under Section 2-3.130 of this Code, the use of any of the following rooms or enclosures for time out purposes is prohibited:

  • (1) a locked room other than one with a locking mechanism that engages only when a key or handle is being held by a person;
  • (2) a confining space such as a closet or box;
  • (3) a room where the student cannot be continually observed; or
  • (4) any other room or enclosure or time out procedure that is contrary to current guidelines of the State Board of Education.

The use of physical restraints is prohibited except when (i) the student poses a physical risk to himself, herself, or others, (ii) there is no medical contraindication to its use, and (iii) the staff applying the restraint have been trained in its safe application. For the purposes of this Section, “restraint” does not include momentary periods of physical restriction by direct person-to-person contact, without the aid of material or mechanical devices, accomplished with limited force and that are designed (i) to prevent a student from completing an act that would result in potential physical harm to himself, herself, or another or damage to property or (ii) to remove a disruptive student who is unwilling to voluntarily leave the area. The use of physical restraints that meet the requirements of this Section may be included in a student’s individualized education plan where deemed appropriate by the student’s individualized education plan team. Whenever physical restraints are used, school personnel shall fully document the incident, including the events leading up to the incident, the type of restraint used, the length of time the student is restrained, and the staff involved. The parents or guardian of a student shall be informed whenever physical restraints are used.


Illinois Compiled Statutes 5-34-18.20. Time out and physical restraint.

Until rules are adopted under Section 2-3.130 of this Code [105 ILCS 5/2-3.130], the use of any of the following rooms or enclosures for time out purposes is prohibited:

  • (1) a locked room other than one with a locking mechanism that engages only when a key or handle is being held by a person;
  • (2) a confining space such as a closet or box;
  • (3) a room where the student cannot be continually observed; or
  • (4) any other room or enclosure or time out procedure that is contrary to current guidelines of the State Board of Education.

The use of physical restraints is prohibited except when (i) the student poses a physical risk to himself, herself, or others, (ii) there is no medical contraindication to its use, and (iii) the staff applying the restraint have been trained in its safe application. For the purposes of this Section, “restraint” does not include momentary periods of physical restriction by direct person-to-person contact, without the aid of material or mechanical devices, accomplished with limited force and that are designed (i) to prevent a student from completing an act that would result in potential physical harm to himself, herself, or another or damage to property or (ii) to remove a disruptive student who is unwilling to voluntarily leave the area. The use of physical restraints that meet the requirements of this Section may be included in a student’s individualized education plan where deemed appropriate by the student’s individualized education plan team. Whenever physical restraints are used, school personnel shall fully document the incident, including the events leading up to the incident, the type of restraint used, the length of time the student is restrained, and the staff involved. The parents or guardian of a student shall be informed whenever physical restraints are used.


Illinois Compiled Statutes 105-5-10-20.14. Student discipline policies; parent-teacher advisory committee.

(a) To establish and maintain a parent-teacher advisory committee to develop with the school board or governing body of a charter school policy guidelines on pupil discipline, including school searches and bullying prevention as set forth in Section 27-23.7 of this Code [105 ILCS 5/27-23.7]. School authorities shall furnish a copy of the policy to the parents or guardian of each pupil within 15 days after the beginning of the school year, or within 15 days after starting classes for a pupil who transfers into the district during the school year, and the school board or governing body of a charter school shall require that a school inform its pupils of the contents of the policy. School boards and the governing bodies of charter schools, along with the parent-teacher advisory committee, must annually review their pupil discipline policies, the implementation of those policies, and any other factors related to the safety of their schools, pupils, and staff.
(a-5) On or before September 15, 2016, each elementary and secondary school and charter school shall, at a minimum, adopt pupil discipline policies that fulfill the requirements set forth in this Section, subsections (a) and (b) of Section 10-22.6 of this Code [105 ILCS 5/10-22.6], Section 34-19 of this Code [105 ILCS 5/10-34-19] if applicable, and federal and State laws that provide special requirements for the discipline of students with disabilities.
(b) The parent-teacher advisory committee in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies shall develop, with the school board, policy guideline procedures to establish and maintain a reciprocal reporting system between the school district and local law enforcement agencies regarding criminal offenses committed by students. School districts are encouraged to create memoranda of understanding with local law enforcement agencies that clearly define law enforcement’s role in schools, in accordance with Section 10-22.6 of this Code.
(c) The parent-teacher advisory committee, in cooperation with school bus personnel, shall develop, with the school board, policy guideline procedures to establish and maintain school bus safety procedures. These procedures shall be incorporated into the district’s pupil discipline policy.
(d) The school board, in consultation with the parent-teacher advisory committee and other community-based organizations, must include provisions in the student discipline policy to address students who have demonstrated behaviors that put them at risk for aggressive behavior, including without limitation bullying, as defined in the policy. These provisions must include procedures for notifying parents or legal guardians and early intervention procedures based upon available community-based and district resources.


Illinois Compiled Statutes 5-2-3.130. Time out and physical restraint rules.

The State Board of Education shall promulgate rules governing the use of time out and physical restraint in the public schools. The rules shall include provisions governing recordkeeping that is required when physical restraint or more restrictive forms of time out are used.


Illinois Administrative Code 23-401.250 Staff Training

Each provider subject to this Part shall develop and implement ongoing inservice training programs related to the duties of all staff.

  • a) Each provider shall prepare and keep on file an annual plan for inservice training in areas where improvement is desirable. The provider shall identify these areas based upon an analysis of each program's implementation in relation to the approved application and based upon data illustrating the achievement of the students served in relation to the goals and objectives stated in their IEPs and on the State assessments in which they participate. Training sessions shall be planned and designed to assist staff members in improving their ability to fulfill their duties as defined in their job descriptions, as necessary to educate the student population served and with specific reference to areas of need identified in the annual plan.

  • b) As appropriate to the student population served, each provider shall provide specific training to all personnel, including but not limited to:

    • 1) the policy and procedures regarding the maintenance of student privacy and dignity;
    • 2) disposal of hazardous waste materials;
    • 3) procedures for preventing the transmission of blood-borne pathogens;
    • 4) the use of isolated time out or physical restraint, if any, subject to the requirements of 23 Ill. Adm. Code 1.280 and 1.285;
    • 5) behavioral intervention strategies; and
    • 6) the administration of medication.
  • c) Each provider shall provide training to all assistants and aides before they assume their duties.

  • d) Each provider shall maintain accurate, written and dated records of all training provided, as described in Section 401.260 of this Part.


Illinois Administrative Code 23-1.285 Requirements for the Use of Isolated Time Out and Physical Restraint

Isolated time out and physical restraint as defined in this Section shall be used only as means of maintaining discipline in schools (that is, as means of maintaining a safe and orderly environment for learning) and only to the extent that they are necessary to preserve the safety of students and others. Neither isolated time out nor physical restraint shall be used in administering discipline to individual students, i.e., as a form of punishment. Nothing in this Section or in Section 1.280 of this Part shall be construed as regulating the restriction of students' movement when that restriction is for a purpose other than the maintenance of an orderly environment (e.g., the appropriate use of safety belts in vehicles).

  • a) "Isolated time out" means the confinement of a student in a time-out room or some other enclosure, whether within or outside the classroom, from which the student's egress is restricted. The use of isolated time out shall be subject to the following requirements.
    • 1) Any enclosure used for isolated time out shall:
      • A) have the same ceiling height as the surrounding room or rooms and be large enough to accommodate not only the student being isolated but also any other individual who is required to accompany that student;
      • B) be constructed of materials that cannot be used by students to harm themselves or others, be free of electrical outlets, exposed wiring, and other objects that could be used by students to harm themselves or others, and be designed so that students cannot climb up the walls (including walls far enough apart so as not to offer the student being isolated sufficient leverage for climbing); and
      • C) be designed to permit continuous visual monitoring of and communication with the student.
    • 2) If an enclosure used for isolated time out is fitted with a door, either a steel door or a wooden door of solid-core construction shall be used. If the door includes a viewing panel, the panel shall be unbreakable.
    • 3) An adult who is responsible for supervising the student shall remain within two feet of the enclosure.
    • 4) The adult responsible for supervising the student must be able to see the student at all times. If a locking mechanism is used on the enclosure, the mechanism shall be constructed so that it will engage only when a key, handle, knob, or other similar device is being held in position by a person, unless the mechanism is an electrically or electronically controlled one that is automatically released when the building's fire alarm system is triggered. Upon release of the locking mechanism by the supervising adult, the door must be able to be opened readily.

Illinois Administrative Code 23-1.285 Requirements for the Use of Isolated Time Out and Physical Restraint

b) "Physical restraint" means holding a student or otherwise restricting his or her movements. "Physical restraint" as permitted pursuant to this Section includes only the use of specific, planned techniques (e.g., the "basket hold" and "team control").

c) The requirements set forth in subsections (d) through (h) of this Section shall not apply to the actions described in this subsection (c) because, pursuant to Section 10-20.33 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/10-20.33], "restraint" does not include momentary periods of physical restriction by direct person-to-person contact, without the aid of material or mechanical devices, accomplished with limited force and designed to:

  • 1) prevent a student from completing an act that would result in potential physical harm to himself, herself, or another or damage to property; or
  • 2) remove a disruptive student who is unwilling to leave the area voluntarily.

d) The use of physical restraint shall be subject to the following requirements.

  • 1) Pursuant to Section 10-20.33 of the School Code, physical restraint may only be employed when:
    • A) the student poses a physical risk to himself, herself, or others,
    • B) there is no medical contraindication to its use, and
    • C) the staff applying the restraint have been trained in its safe application as specified in subsection (h)(2) of this Section.
  • 2) Students shall not be subjected to physical restraint for using profanity or other verbal displays of disrespect for themselves or others. A verbal threat shall not be considered as constituting a physical danger unless a student also demonstrates a means of or intent to carry out the threat.
  • 3) Except as permitted by the administrative rules of another State agency operating or licensing a facility in which elementary or secondary educational services are provided (e.g., the Illinois Department of Corrections or the Illinois Department of Human Services), mechanical or chemical restraint (i.e., the use of any device other than personal physical force to restrict the limbs, head, or body) shall not be employed.

Illinois Administrative Code 23-1.285 Requirements for the Use of Isolated Time Out and Physical Restraint

4) Medically prescribed restraint procedures employed for the treatment of a physical disorder or for the immobilization of a person in connection with a medical or surgical procedure shall not be used as means of physical restraint for purposes of maintaining discipline.
5) Any application of physical restraint shall take into consideration the safety and security of the student. Further, physical restraint shall not rely upon pain as an intentional method of control.
6) In determining whether a student who is being physically restrained should be removed from the area where the restraint was initiated, the supervising adult shall consider the potential for injury to the student, the student's need for privacy, and the educational and emotional well-being of other students in the vicinity.
7) If physical restraint is imposed upon a student whose primary mode of communication is sign language or an augmentative mode, the student shall be permitted to have his or her hands free of restraint for brief periods, unless the supervising adult determines that this freedom appears likely to result in harm to the student or others.


Illinois Administrative Code 23-1.285 Requirements for the Use of Isolated Time Out and Physical Restraint

e) Time Limits

  • 1) A student shall not be kept in isolated time out for longer than is therapeutically necessary, which shall not be for more than 30 minutes after he or she ceases presenting the specific behavior for which isolated time out was imposed or any other behavior for which it would be an appropriate intervention.
  • 2) A student shall be released from physical restraint immediately upon a determination by the staff member administering the restraint that the student is no longer in imminent danger of causing physical harm to himself, herself, or others.

f) Documentation and Evaluation

  • 1) A written record of each episode of isolated time out or physical restraint shall be maintained in the student's temporary record. The official designated pursuant to Section 1.280(c)(3) of this Part shall also maintain a copy of each of these records. Each record shall include:
    • A) the student's name;
    • B) the date of the incident;
    • C) the beginning and ending times of the incident;
    • D) a description of any relevant events leading up to the incident;
    • E) a description of any interventions used prior to the implementation of isolated time out or physical restraint;
    • F) a description of the incident and/or student behavior that resulted in isolated time out or physical restraint;
    • G) a log of the student's behavior in isolated time out or during physical restraint, including a description of the restraint techniques used and any other interaction between the student and staff;
    • H) a description of any injuries (whether to students, staff, or others) or property damage;
    • I) a description of any planned approach to dealing with the student's behavior in the future;
    • J) a list of the school personnel who participated in the implementation, monitoring, and supervision of isolated time out or physical restraint;
    • K) the date on which parental notification took place as required by subsection (g) of this Section.
  • 2) The school official designated pursuant to Section 1.280(c)(3) of this Part shall be notified of the incident as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the school day on which it occurred.
  • 3) The record described in subsection (f)(1) of this Section shall be completed by the beginning of the school day following the episode of isolated time out or physical restraint.
  • 4) The requirements of this subsection (f)(4) shall apply whenever an episode of isolated time out exceeds 30 minutes, an episode of physical restraint exceeds 15 minutes, or repeated episodes have occurred during any three-hour period.
    • A) A licensed educator knowledgeable about the use of isolated time out or trained in the use of physical restraint, as applicable, shall evaluate the situation.
    • B) The evaluation shall consider the appropriateness of continuing the procedure in use, including the student's potential need for medication, nourishment, or use of a restroom, and the need for alternate strategies (e.g., assessment by a mental health crisis team, assistance from police, or transportation by ambulance).
    • C) The results of the evaluation shall be committed to writing and copies of this documentation shall be placed into the student's temporary student record and provided to the official designated pursuant to Section 1.280(c)(3) of this Part.

Illinois Administrative Code 23-1.285 Requirements for the Use of Isolated Time Out and Physical Restraint

g) Notification to Parents

  • 1) A district whose policies on the maintenance of discipline include the use of isolated time out or physical restraint shall notify parents to this effect as part of the information distributed annually or upon enrollment pursuant to Sections 10-20.14 and 14-8.05(c) of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/10-20.14 and 14-8.05(c)].
  • 2) Within 24 hours after any use of isolated time out or physical restraint, the school district or other entity serving the student shall send written notice of the incident to the student's parents, unless the parent has provided the district or other entity with a written waiver of this requirement for notification. The notification shall include the student's name, the date of the incident, a description of the intervention used, and the name of a contact person with a telephone number to be called for further information.

h) Requirements for Training

  • 1) Isolated Time Out
    Each district, cooperative, or joint agreement whose policy permits the use of isolated time out shall provide orientation to its staff members covering at least the written procedure established pursuant to Section 1.280(c)(2) of this Part.
  • 2) Physical Restraint
    • A) Physical restraint as defined in this Section shall be applied only by individuals who have received systematic training that includes all the elements described in subsection (h)(2)(B) of this Section and who have received a certificate of completion or other written evidence of participation. An individual who applies physical restraint shall use only techniques in which he or she has received training within the preceding two years, as indicated by written evidence of participation.
    • B) Training with respect to physical restraint may be provided either by the employer or by an external entity and shall include, but need not be limited to:
      • i) appropriate procedures for preventing the need for physical restraint, including the de-escalation of problematic behavior, relationship-building, and the use of alternatives to restraint;
      • ii) a description and identification of dangerous behaviors on the part of students that may indicate the need for physical restraint and methods for evaluating the risk of harm in individual situations in order to determine whether the use of restraint is warranted;
      • iii) the simulated experience of administering and receiving a variety of physical restraint techniques, ranging from minimal physical involvement to very controlling interventions;
      • iv) instruction regarding the effects of physical restraint on the person restrained, including instruction on monitoring physical signs of distress and obtaining medical assistance;
      • v) instruction regarding documentation and reporting requirements and investigation of injuries and complaints; and
      • vi) demonstration by participants of proficiency in administering physical restraint.
    • C) An individual may provide training to others in a particular method of physical restraint only if he or she has received written evidence of completing training in that technique that meets the requirements of subsection (h)(2)(B) of this Section within the preceding one-year period.
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