Ohio

Eye on Education

Columbus Student Injured After Being Taken to Seclusion Room

The Columbus Dispatch reports that a city elementary school aide took a child “screaming in pain” to a seclusion room, a small padded room where violent or aggressive students can be taken to calm down.

The child returned “bruised, scraped and red.” It was his first day at Beatty Park Elementary, which specializes in serving children with emotional or behavioral problems, the Dispatch says.

As we first reported in March, the Columbus school district was sued this March in connection with the use of seclusion rooms. A state agency that advocates for the rights of disabled people is suing in order to obtain information about how the rooms are used. The school district has denied accusations that it fails to properly oversee the use of those rooms. Federal Judge Gregory Frost dismissed the suit yesterday at the request of the state agency.

The controversy comes amid a growing state and national effort on the part of advocates for students with disabilities to regulate the use of seclusion rooms and restraints.

In response, the American Association of School Administrators has called seclusion and restraint “necessary tools in the toolbox of school personnel to defend themselves and their students from incidents that could be dangerous.” The association says the rooms should not be used to punish bad behavior.

However, the use of seclusion rooms in Ohio schools is largely unregulated.

In the case of the student injured after being taken to a seclusion room, the Dispatch says it occurred after the student “refused to clean up after breakfast, threw food on the floor and bumped into a chair.”

The aide who injured the boy has been fired in connection with this incident and another one.

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