One school. 21 abuse investigations. And the struggle to stop relying on seclusion and restraint.
The knock came on Beth Sandy’s door late one Friday afternoon at the end of May.
Standing outside was an investigator with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the state agency charged with examining allegations of child abuse and neglect.
Sandy assumed she was in trouble for violating truancy laws. A week earlier, she had pulled her 7-year-old son from Gages Lake School, which serves young children in suburban Lake County with behavioral and emotional disabilities, after he complained of a scary office and began hiding under the bed when the school bus arrived.
“Oh, great, here we go,” Sandy, who lives in north suburban Round Lake Heights, remembers thinking to herself.
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Photo credit: A frame from surveillance video at Gages Lake School via ProPublica Illinois