The caller, identified only as Mike, told WOSU he taught at a county school for severely mentally disabled children. The school had a seclusion room but eventually removed it “for political reasons and others,” Mike told WOSU:
“We totally got rid of the timeout room, but our job became harder.”
The caller said the kind of positive behavior management techniques that some educators say can obviate the need for seclusion rooms wasn’t enough:
“Long-term, yes, using positive stuff to build on that will work. And that’s what you work on very hard, but in the meantime you have to have some tools.”
Mike told WOSU that with the option of sending a disruptive or violent student to the timeout room gone, some teachers at his school turned to violence themselves. One teacher told Mike that she recommended hitting children with a metal chair since they couldn’t be sent to the timeout room.
“That’s the only thing she knew how to do. That’s the alternative.”