THUMBS UP! To the state board of education. The body made emergency rule changes last week after the Chicago Tribune published a bombshell noting isolation used as punishment in public school districts around the state. The story pointed out there were in excess of 20,000 documented instances of isolation, and “School employees use isolated timeout for convenience, out of frustration or as a punishment.” Isolation is legal in Illinois schools, but it’s generally limited to closing off students who pose a safety threat to themselves or others. The changes will limit the use of isolation and restraints, and requires more transparency when those decisions are made.
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THUMBS DOWN! To skipping the flu shot. Immunization rates are flat this year, a troubling statistic. Public health officials recommend almost everyone get a flu shot. The shots are easier and less expensive than they’ve ever been. Yet numbers of the vaccinated remain at about 40%, considerably less than ideal. Even if a recipient gets the flu, the vaccine can reduce its severity. Last year, 61,000 deaths were attributed to the flu. That’s a number we can reduce.
THUMBS UP! To Millikin University. The announcement last week of a $15 million fundraising effort for athletic facility expansion and renovation will even further entrench the school’s west side presence. It will also be another attraction to a university which is world-class in many ways and working its way there in others.
THUMBS UP! To participants in the Turkey Trot. The annual race, marking its 45th year, was held amid cold and snow, but it still drew 250 energetic entrants. Our favorite was Colby Geisler, whose lost bet with John Flora resulted in Geisler running the race dressed as a turkey. Fit and fun.