Saturday, January 31, 2009

AL: Elementary School Teacher Disciplines by Putting Students In "Box"

Posted: Jan 30, 2009 12:05 AM EST

Huntsville, AL- (WAAY) The parents of an autistic child say their daughter was forced to sit inside a box as a form of punishment.

Those parents contacted WAAY 31, saying they were outraged at how the teacher at Flat Rock Elementary School dealt with their special needs child.

They claim their child was forced into this wooden container that looks like a wardrobe box.

"She has put my child in an unsafe state," mother Penny Shrader said. "I won't allow it to happen to any other child or mine."

Shrader said her daughter's teacher put the 7-year-old in a box after she made a mess from eating ice cream.

Another parent told Shrader they'd seen the teacher put the girl in the box.

Since her daughter was subjected to the punishment, Shrader said the girl's asthma symptoms have worsened.

"This is what I'm trying to press to the school. It's not bad to discipline a normal kid in time out, it might be acceptable," Shrader said.

Jackson County School Superintendent Ken Harding said he confronted the teacher about the incident, and the teacher denied it. He said the teacher did admit to putting four other students in the box, but not Shrader's daughter.

He said the school board is looking into he incident, but feels the problem has been resolved since the box was taken out of the classroom.

Shrader says she's still not satisfied.

"To simply say you've taken and removed the box and talked to the teacher does not satisfy my child is safe when I'm an hour away trying to make money to raise her," she said. "It's just not acceptable."

Several federal, state and county agencies are investigating. The case is drawing national media attention.

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