Recently, controversy struck a Washington state elementary school after Ana Bate posted images on Facebook of a padded room with two peepholes, air holes in the ceiling, and a metal bar that locks the door from the outside. This free-standing booth sits in the corner of her son’s classroom and is known as an “isolation booth” or “seclusion room.”
Though her 8-year-old son has never been put in the room, he was forced to sit near it and watch other students being sent to and from it as punishment for horseplay. Following Bates posts, Mint Valley Elementary’s principal sent out a letter explaining that the room is used for “aversion therapy for students with special needs” with a parent’s consent.
These types of rooms are not uncommon in U.S. schools and not all require parental approval or are used for therapy; some are used strictly as a form of discipline. One student refers to it as “the naughty room” where kids are sent when they behave badly. However, Niki Favela, who has approved the use of the booth says the method has shown results for her 11-year-old daughter who has violet outbreaks due to autism.
“To the outside world it seems extreme,” Favela told the paper. “[But without the program] our daughter would not have the same opportunities as everyone else.”
While officials investigate allegations of Mint Valley’s specific use of the room, the district has yet to receive any formal complaints from parents. Read the full article on The Huffington Post.
BMWK– How do you feel about an isolation room at your child’s school? Do you think it’s an acceptable form of therapy, punishment or otherwise?
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