Eye on Education

What Seclusion Rooms Look Like

Columbus Dispatch visual journalist Courtney Hergesheimer traveled to schools around Ohio as part of StateImpact Ohio and The Dispatch’s reporting on the use of seclusion rooms in Ohio schools. Her video, narrated by Dispatch reporter Jennifer Smith Richards, shows what some of the seclusion rooms we visited look like.

Some have tile floors; other have carpet. Many have padding on the walls. Some have doors with windows; in others schools have removed doors to the rooms. Some rooms are painted in bright colors or have murals or motivational posters on the walls; others just have padding marked by the children who have been in the room before.


  • Morgan L.

    You people should have seen the stuff they had when I was going to ohio’s “IEC” or “Independence Education Center”, a school for kids with “behavioral problems”.

    All the had was a box made of plywood that someone built in an old school room. They had a wooden bench to sit on, and no flooring. It was uncomfortable as heck. They didn’t usually shut the doors unless you kept being unruly, but it was pretty lousy. The only good thing about it is that unlike these things, they didn’t feel like solitary confinement rooms for mental patients. I mean, jeez.

    Yeah, the teachers at that place just used them so they wouldn’t have to deal with kids acting up. And when a kid was sent to “Isolation” as it was called, they’d usually pop in a movie for us to watch because “we were to riled up to go back to class”, but it was really because they wanted to take an opportunity not to teach anymore, likely because they weren’t very good teachers either.

  • Amy

    As a mother of a 8 yr old with Aspergers, the seclusion rooms are heart breaking. Not only is locking my child in a small room to calm down by himself not helpful to his melt downs, but it increases his anxiety. He hates to be alone and gets very frightened and fearful when he is upset and unable to calm down on his own. I understand the idea is to separate the kids so they don’t distract the other students learning, but if an IEP is in place, there should be another teacher in the room able to remove the child and help talk them down, rather than throw them in a seclusion room. I think it is cruel and abusive. What is next, a cage? Why don’t we find a way to HELP these children find better outlets for their emotions rather than punishing them?

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