VIDEO: Parents Claim Classroom ‘Isolation Booth’ Is Used For More Than Therapy

BY: - 30 Nov '12 | On the Web

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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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  • Nae

    As a former educator and early childhood and autism awareness advocate, I understand the challenge that overstimulation (and resulting behaviors) can present in the classroom for children and teachers alike, however I am not a fan of any discipline taking place in the context of isolation. I am also concerned that this sets a dangerous precedent for self-coping and soothing techniques. A quiet room/corner (with less stimulation) is certainly appropriate but not in complete isolation.

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  • dakota

    you know, in prison they “control” and “calm” problem prisoners who are too “overstimulated” or are having “voilent outbursts”… I fear we may start useing tazer guns on the bullies. I mean we already comfortable with putting grade schoolers in hand cuffs. a 8 year old girl. if there is a “security guard” “hall cop” in your school this behavior is more likely then not a common occurance.

    so I want to hear shit about how homeschooling is bad for my child, and don’t even try asking about socialization. what are such schools doing? teaching kids to socialize with prison guards and felons?

    • dakota

      * in prison (that’s how) they “control” and “calm”…. having “violent (outbursts”they lock them in isolation cells.)

      pardon for the glaring omission in my grammer.

      it just so frustrating that people can tolerate the abuse of power. and no one seems to care. we used to love our students, now they are treated like they are felons waiting to happen. have we forgotten children often do what we expect of them. whats going to happen when we expect the worst?

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