Friday, October 17, 2008

PA: Stroudsburg officials admit school has a padded room

SPECIAL NOTE: This school district and their attorneys vehemently denied in writing this "time out room" existed, but have finally admitted to both having and using it. Now they're insisting that this room is the "only" one in the district, and that it's not being misused. Makes you wonder how true those statements are, and what else they're lying about...

For more information, see related article:

Stroudsburg's school board acknowledged Wednesday night that the district used a "time-out" room for some of its special needs children, reversing claims made by the district's lawyers that no such room existed.

“There is a time-out room that is serving the needs of the students in the Intermediate Elementary school," said Ray Williams, president of the school district's board. "That’s the one and only room of that nature that’s being used in the district.”

The Intermediate Elementary School houses students in grades three and four.

Parents of students with disabilities had been asking the district to clarify the policies governing the use of the room, which is reportedly a small space with a carpet and bean bag.

The time-out room is attached to another room that is reserved for students receiving emotional support services. Emotional support students typically receive help in coping with social and behavioral issues.

But a mother of two children with Asperger's, which is a mild form of autism, said that her daughter had been sent there so frequently that she referred to the room as "her office."

Her son, whose disorder manifests itself in difficulty adjusting to changes in environment, spent frequent and long stretches there that caused him to miss chunks of class time, she said.

"They've way overused that room," said Laurie Hilbert, mother of the twin fourth-graders, speaking of the school. "When kids are spending a lot of time in that room, it becomes a problem.

"Parents have the right to know it exists."

It is not known how many such rooms are in use in the county.

Typically, the rooms are meant as safe spaces used to defuse students in volatile states, and to keep them from harming themselves or others.

In an Oct. 3 letter to Mike Medici, a disability rights advocate, the district's lawyers wrote that, "There are no 'Time Out Rooms, -- Padded Rooms'" in the district.

For more on this story, please check future online and print editions of the Pocono Record.

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