Mint Valley Elementary School in Longview, Washington refers to this room as an ‘isolation booth’… around here, we call them seclusion rooms. The common claim is that these rooms are therapeutic for those they are used for and are apparently only to be used after all other methods of intervention have been exhausted. The other side of this argument is that these types of rooms are abusive and used as a form of punishment for behaviours that are not able to be controlled, in most cases due to an existing diagnosis of, as an example, say autism.
The mother who shared the information about this isolation booth has a son at this school. Her son doesn’t have a diagnosis that would give staff any reason to use this booth. In this case, her son went to the office after he was roughhousing on the playground. He then sat near the booth for at least four hours, and saw three students being sent into the booth. The child in turn shared this with his mother as he was thinking ‘it was scary, it was abusive, and are they gonna do this to me?’
Should this be something that should be going through any child’s head at school? You can read the interview with this mother HERE.
So, I’m curious… what’s your opinion of these types of rooms? Is it therapeutic? Or is it abuse?
One of the photos posted on Facebook shows the isolation box at Mint Valley Elementary School in Longview, Washington
See more images of the ‘isolation booth’ HERE.
LONGVIEW, Wash. – District officials at Longview Public Schools are suspending the use of so-called “isolation booths” after news of their presence came to light on Facebook earlier this week.District spokeswoman Sandy Catt said the decision to suspend the use of the padded rooms came because the district is investigating three complaints about their use. She would not provide specifics. “We want everyone to know we are taking all of the comments seriously,” Catt said. “We want to make sure there wasn’t any inappropriate use.”
“The room’s use has been suspended,” Catt added. “Instead, we’re trying to meet those student’s needs in other ways. We’re going to have to work closely with the families to make sure that the appropriate responses are provided for those children.”
KATU first reported about the isolation room at Mint Valley Elementary School on Tuesday night. School officials said they use the room with eight or nine special education students to help calm them down.
In the meantime, Catt said the school will use alternate “aversion therapy” methods for special needs students who are not behaving. Other tactics include moving the student into a different room, clearing out the classroom until the child calms down or having an adult hold the child still to calm him or her.
Several experts told KATU that isolation rooms like the one at Mint Valley can be valuable tools, but only if used properly.
Washington law says school districts may use isolation rooms, although they must document each case.
In Oregon, schools were recently given the option to use seclusion rooms. An Oregon Department of Education spokesman said seclusion can only be used when other methods have been exhausted and a student escalates to a point where he or she could hurt somebody.