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School timeout laws cause concern for parents

Parents spend a lot of time worrying about the welfare of their children. This concern can become more than a passing thought during separation, divorce and other difficult life events that unduly affect children's lives. But, sometimes, everyday threats to children's safety can cause alarm as well as legal action.

Parents and caretakers in Illinois are worried about a state law allowing school personnel to isolate children as a disciplinary measure. Secluding students in separate spaces in what is called an "isolated timeout," which could be considered a legitimate move while trying to deal with difficult students.

The problem is the type of isolation, which can involve children as young as 5 locked away in closet-sized spaces. Some have developmental issues that require extra care, and some teachers and disciplinarians have resorted to these means out of frustration or simple punishment. A recent investigation turned up some reasons that should not result in confinement.

"Having a law that allows schools to do something that is so traumatic and dangerous to students without having some sort of meaningful oversight and monitoring is really, really troubling," said the founder of a children's advocacy organization.

Parents looking to challenge the mistreatment of their children may be able to seek new arrangements through family court in Illinois. This is especially true if a child's problem resulted from a custody arrangement that put a kid in questionable hands. A lawyer can help review the details of a case and determine if a parent has a case for a new arrangement in family court.

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Johnson, Johnson, & NolanAttorneys At Law

Johnson, Johnson, & Nolan
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