A seclusion room at Joseph Brown Elementary School has been used 45 times in less than two academic school years, according to a letter from the school district’s special education supervisor.
In response to a public records request made by The Daily Herald asking for documents related to the seclusion room, the district released only a letter dated Sept. 25, 2009, and signed by Special Education Supervisor Kelley Woodside. The letter states the seclusion room was used 39 times during the 2008-09 school year. So far this academic year, the room has been utilized six times, according to the letter.
The school has been temporarily barred from using the room by Judge Jim Hamilton who issued an emergency injunction. A Maury County woman has alleged that the school violated state law by placing her 9-year-old son, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactive disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, in a bare concrete room with no handle on the door Sept. 15.
Among the items requested from the school district was a report written by School Resource Officer Tony Greene regarding the Sept. 15 incident.
Greene said he turned the document over to the central office. Schools spokeswoman Sharon Kinnard said Wednesday she did not believe officials ever received the document.
The school district has maintained the room has been used in compliance with a state law passed in January 2009.
A decision by Hamilton is expected to be made sometime this week on whether the district can continue use of the room.
The mother also claims educators stripped her son down to his underwear before putting him in the seclusion room.
In Chancery Court Tuesday, the boy’s special education teacher, Tasha Walker, said the boy was placed in the room after taking off his shirt and placing it around his neck in what appeared to be a harmful manner. She also said he kicked her and threatened other students.
According to Woodside’s letter, a student is placed in the room only when a student is “in danger of harming self or other(s)” and “has not responded to positive attempts to de-escalate.”
Woodside also wrote that special education teachers received training on restraint and seclusion on Oct. 3, 2008, and re-certification classes were taught Aug. 25 and Sept. 9-10 of this year.
Story created Oct 01, 2009 - 15:55:17 EDT.