Thursday, September 20, 2012

A padded room too much for your elementary school student?

Within a two miles of my house we have a three or four public elementary schools. Since we plan to do the traditional "three year kindergarten" Montessori for our children, we still have to determine the "next step" as to what schooling means for our children.

We are hesitant to use the local public schools because it is known that Arizona lacks, overall, in educational goals and attainment.  Graduation rates are low, rankings are low (this link says AZ is 50th), which is why many choose charter, home, or private schools.

The nearest school is considered to be highly ranked in AZ, and a few others nearby are also considered decent. Decent as in "ok" - definitely not a bad school, but not highly performing. ranks it a "7" which is pretty good for AZ actually.

But, what part of "ok" is a padded room for 5 year olds? Check out this article on "padded" seclusion rooms for kids to calm down? Even if my kid doesn't "need" this... what does it say about what the school thinks of my kid's classmates? Apparently the school district and the state of AZ allows both seclusion and restraints within the public schools. Desert Sage Elementary school has, hidden within their walls, a padded room, just for their students who happen to need some time to calm down.

The local television station broke a story regarding the padded "time out" room for elementary schools.

I have to feel for the family in the above story. Their child has FOOD allergies which affect behavior. Unfortunately many people do not realize how food does affect our bodies... Now to the extent that a padded room is needed?

Even with the procedures mentioned in that video, are we still doing service to our kids? I mean, we know food affects behavior and we generally do not have the best of food in cafeterias. Then, for kids with food allergies, there are even more potential issues.

Aside of the food issues, is it okay to have a padded seclusion room for elementary kids? I mean, a prisoner would be placed in one of these, or someone going for a psych evaluation, but I'm sure they have a much more stringent policies going on in those situations...

Does your nearby schools have something similar? What would you do if your kiddo was placed in one and you were notified at the end of the day about it? And, would the parents even know what this seclusion was?

When you enroll your student in a school, WHY do you need to ask what types of "time outs" or "restraints" are used if your child needs to "cool down?"

Things that make you go hmmm....


Megan @Love Letters 7.10 said...

That is absolutely disturbing. Are AZ schools really the new insane asylums. You'd have to be CRAZY to send your kids there!


Seriously though, I would not be okay with this.

Jamie said...

Ugh, this just makes me sick!!

JR911 said...

Wow....that's extreme for something like that....we're not talking a school for the severely violent or some such. This is terrible.

crunchyfarmbaby said...

As a teacher, I have to say that, unfortunately, the "padded rooms" are necessary. Please understand that these are not used for all children - in my school, we have a padded room that is used for students with severe emotional disabilities that would otherwise hurt themselves or others in an emotional outbreak. The rooms are not there because teachers don't know how to handle students - they're there for safety. I have seen firsthand what happens when an emotionally unstable child gets out of control in a regular classroom. In one instance in my building last year, a student destroyed four computers, broke an aide's knee, and cut a teacher's hand. It's important to remember that in our country, the public schools provide education to ALL students. One building has an incredible range of intellectual/emotional/mental/physical abilities and we have to make sure we have the means to care for all of their needs. These padded rooms, while typically used for emotional disabled students, are also used for physical therapy and life skills students as well.

Amanda McMahon said...

I definitely agree that there are times they are needed - my follow up post discussed more in detail the lack of regulation.

For example, in AZ, where this took place. Parents are not required by law to be told that this happened. The rooms are not required to be lit nor do the children have to have access to an adult (to say, let them know they calmed down, have to go bathroom, are hungry) and no time limits are required.

When there are no regulations and parents aren't being told that 1) it exists and 2) that it is being used then parents aren't even allowed to try to find assistance to make the situation better for not only their child, but also the teacher/staff and other children.

Amanda McMahon said...

Here is why regulation is needed and why some states have implemented regulations. This girl DIED during restraint for blowing bubbles in her milk

As sad as it is for a child who cannot self control to be in a situation where restraints or isolation is "needed" - regulation is necessary to prevent abuse.