ISBE Publishes Goals & Benchmarks for Isolated Time Out, Time Out, and Physical Restraint

As we previously reported here, on August 13, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed House Bill 219 (“HB 219”) into law as Public Act 102-0339, which amended the Illinois School Code regarding the use of isolated time out, time out, and physical restraint interventions in public schools, special education cooperatives, and special education non-public facilities. In November, ISBE launched a webpage specific to the implementation and reduction of the use of isolated time out, time out, and physical restraint interventions.

One of the most significant changes under P.A. 102-0339 required ISBE to establish goals, with specific benchmarks, to systemically reduce the use of isolated time out, time out, and physical restraint interventions in schools within three years. The goals and benchmarks are posted on ISBE’s webpage. Specifically, the three goals seek to:

  • over a 12-month period, reduce the use of these interventions by 25% for students experiencing five or more instances in a 30 day period;
  • develop annual training with external stakeholders focusing on crisis de-escalation, restorative practices, identifying signs of distress during the intervention, trauma-informed practices, and behavior management practices, as well as embedded implicit bias training; and
  • create an “Alternatives to Time Out and Restraint Recognition Program” to share best practices based on student age, IEP, and placement.

The benchmarks are to be completed by Summer 2022, and the goals and benchmarks are to be amended and updated annually.

P.A. 102-0339 also requires school boards to create a time out and physical restraint oversight team to develop and implement a school-specific plan for reducing and eventually eliminating the use of these interventions in accordance with the goals and benchmarks established by ISBE. This includes submission of an annual report to ISBE for three years on progress toward ISBE’s goals and benchmarks. Specifics on the requirements for development and implementation of this plan, as well as annual reporting, have not yet been issued by ISBE. In the meantime, school districts and schools must now work proactively to train staff in alternative de-escalation techniques to reduce and eliminate the use of such interventions within the next three years.

The ISBE webpage also includes a Fact Sheet that addresses frequently asked questions and requirements of P.A. 102-0339.  In addition, published on the ISBE webpage is historical data on the use of isolated time out, time out, and physical restraint from the 2017-2018 school year through the 2019-2020 school year. Several resource documents, including the ISBE FAQ and ISBE reporting from, are posted on the ISBE webpage.

Also posted on the ISBE webpage is information on the physical restraint, isolated time out, and time out (“RTO”) State complaint process. State RTO Complaints must be submitted in writing using the ISBE form and signed. Any parent/guardian, individual, organization, or advocate may file an RTO Complaint alleging that a school district or other serving entity violated 23 Illinois Administrative Code 1.285. A complaint will only be considered for review if it alleges a violation within one year of the date the complaint is received.

We will continue to monitor the implementation of P.A. 102-0339 and any subsequent revisions to the ISBE rules. For more information regarding the use of isolated time out, time out, and physical restraint interventions, the ISBE goals and benchmarks, staff training, and/or required documentation and reports, please contact any attorney in our Students/Special Education practice group.