You had to know I was going to write about this, right?
So this story turns my stomach and things like this are why we are hesitant to send Max to public school next year.
On one hand, as a parent of a child with special needs I do understand that there are different ways to help different children. There are children who have behaviors that can bring a classroom to a halt and the parents and teachers have discussed a way to handle those behaviors. On the other hand, I wonder whether if a child has the need to be in a windowless room and scream during the school day, perhaps that school setting is not the right one. And how is that child treated by the other children in the class when he/she comes out and they all know he/she’s been in there screaming and kicking at a barricaded door? Talk about trauma for both a kid locked in that room and for the children witnessing/hearing it.
It appears per this article that these rooms are being used for children other than for whom they were intended. They are supposed to be for kids who have it written into their IEP (Individualized Education Plan). This means that the parents of those children signed off on the use of these rooms. IEPs are binding, legal documents which are signed by the parents and the school. There isn’t anything in them that parents don’t know about. However, at some point, I’m sure a teacher had become so frustrated with a “typical” child’s behavior that she/he placed him/her into that room, unbeknownst to the parent. This is not ok with me at all.
In general, I don’t really understand the use of scream rooms for the children with special needs they were built for, but I can’t judge treatment choices for children who are not my own nor do I consider it an acceptable form of classroom discipline for typical children. As things stand right now, I would not write this into Max’s IEP as an acceptable form of behavior management. I don’t want them anywhere near classrooms where the “therapy” will impact any other child. I also know, that as I research towns to move to, Middletown will not be on my list.