Eye on Education

Locked Away: Read Seclusion Room Logs From Ohio Schools

The Columbus Dispatch and StateImpact Ohio requested logs of seclusion rooms’ use from 100 school districts across Ohio as part of our reporting on seclusion rooms.

The logs show that the rooms are often used for their intended purpose: to calm or restrain children who become violent. But they also show that the rooms are misused.

Here are a few examples of uses of seclusion rooms from some of the incident reports and logs districts provided, as well as links to the full documents so you can see for yourself how the rooms are used in some schools.

[Read more about Locked Away, a joint investigation by The Columbus Dispatch and StateImpact Ohio into the use of seclusion rooms in Ohio schools.]


    • Refusing to do work

    • Punched teacher

Autism Academy of Learning (Toledo)

    • Hitting and kicking staff and other students

    • Destroying property

Ohio Valley ESC

    • Being disruptive


    • Being disruptive

Based on reporting by Jennifer Smith Richards of The Columbus Dispatch and Ida Lieszkovszky and Molly Bloom of StateImpact Ohio.


  • Betty

    Teachers really should know the difference between “you’re” and “your”, shouldn’t they?

    • Glenna

      Unfortunately, many times students with behavioral challenges are assigned aides who take care of them but who have no formal training or education beyond high school. While these folks often work very hard and typically have the best interest of the child in mind, they only know to do with the child as they are told. In addition, skills in the area of English and grammar are often lacking. These notes were probably written by an aide and not a teacher.

  • Sandy

    The above notes are absolutely disgusting and not because of the grammar ( I think grammar correction has a time and place but it is not in this circumstance). The reasons they are put in are unbelievable: “disrupted”, “said No”, “said you’re mean” are ridiculous reasons for being placed in isolation. I would be hard pressed to find ANY reason to be isolated. If the rooms were set up as they are SUPPOSED to be (safe, happy, calming, providing a distraction so the child could calm down…all under the supervision/guidance of a trained (not just a holding a degree) psychologist….all the while with the door OPEN) that would be one thing (but even that is a near impossible situation because something will inevitably happen (psych isn’t there, situation wasn’t dealt with properly, the use of room as abused,etc, etc). But the way these rooms are used, the reasons they are used and the duration they are used is barbaric, sickening and archaic. The fact is that as far as our society has come with equal rights for African Americans and women it has decades of catching up to do for people with disabilities.

    Locking a child (or adult) with disabilities away in a room as a TIME-OUT for 40 minutes or longer (there was one log note above that DIDN’T even have an exit time) does nothing but increase anxiety, promote phobias, increase tension, increase fears and feelings of anger/sadness/fear for the child isolated. It does decrease some things though: it decreases the need for education/training of teachers, it decreases inclusion rights of these children, it decreases feelings of acceptance, tolerance and equality (for the teachers, typical students and disabled students who will see this isolation as a punishment and therefore the thoughts of how the disabled student is ‘bad’)

    Many teachers will say that we don’t understand their perspective. Guess what? I was a teacher and I had students with disabilities (including undiagnosed ones) and what I did for those children was show up early and stay late every day to ensure they were at the level they were supposed to be academically and felt comfortable to come to me with any social issues they had with other children.

    Now I have a son on the Autism Spectrum so I understand what it’s like to have someone that blurts things out, doesn’t learn quite the same as most people, can’t always adequately express what he wants and sometimes doesn’t want to do the things I ask him to. Oh wait, that sounds a lot like being a child. On that basis then let’s lock up ALL the children who have said/done those things they mentioned above. I hope they have an isolation room that will fit 99% of the student body.

    • Betty

      I agree, the “reasons” are pathetic. Are they going to lock up and restrain every kid who doesn’t want to do their schoolwork? The bad spelling and grammar just made it all worse, in my mind, added new meaning to the lie that special education staff are all “highly qualified”.

  • Clintatl

    Tell ya who needs to be locked up… these abusive teachers.

  • Morgan L.

    I have spent time in a “behavioral school” some time ago.

    I can tell you that they do not treat you as a person with a mental problem, but rather some idiot who needs to buck up and get over it. When you act up you are punished like a kid who should know better, and who doesn’t have a problem, and yet at other times are treated like an imbecile. Kids are rewarded for simply keeping their mouths shut and being “a good little nazi”, a term my parents taught me and is used for teachers and such who simply want their kids to obey so they don’t have to work too hard. The best part is that one of the kids I knew was so quiet that he was out of the school quickly… but I’m fairly certain that was the reason he was sent there. He never talked more than a couple words and was almost emotionless, but this was rewarded.

    Teachers may say that these things are necessary, but I can assure you they’re just trying to get out of working harder.

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