The Quiet Rooms
Children are being locked away, alone and terrified, in schools across Illinois. Often, it's against the law.
The spaces have gentle names: The reflection room. The cool-down room. The calming room. The quiet room.
But shut inside them, in public schools across the state, children as young as 5 wail for their parents, scream in anger and beg to be let out.
“Please someone respond to me. … I’m sorry I ripped the paper. I overreacted. Please just let me out. Is anyone out there?”
11:58 A.M., JAN. 11, 2018
FRESH START TREATMENT AND LEARNING CENTER, EFFINGHAM
“Please, please, please open the door. Please, I’ll be good. Open the door and I’ll be quiet.”
2:09 P.M., DEC. 11, 2017
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, MATTOON
“I’d rather die. You’re torturing me.”
DEC. 17, 2018
CENTRAL SCHOOL, SPRINGFIELD
The students, most of them with disabilities, scratch the windows or tear at the padded walls. They throw their bodies against locked doors. They wet their pants. Some children spend hours inside these rooms, missing class time. Through it all, adults stay outside the door, writing down what happens.
In Illinois, it’s legal for school employees to seclude students in a separate space — to put them in “isolated timeout” — if the students pose a safety threat to themselves or others. Yet every school day, workers isolate children for reasons that violate the law, an investigation by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois has found.
Read the full story HERE.
Photo Credit: Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune