Public schools are working hard to crack down on bullying, but in some Ohio schools, teachers are the bullies.
Brendon Spencer faces challenges every day: ADHD, Aspergers’ syndrome, and a mood disorder. He was often teased and attacked as a 5th grade student in an Ohio elementary school. Now, at fifteen, Brendon recalls his punishment for defending himself: “They’d shut off the lights…and make you put your head down, and it just made me feel like I was alone in darkness forever.”
Seclusion rooms like the one Brendon was locked in, are used in public schools across Ohio.
Many of these rooms are as small as closets, sometimes covered in spit and reeking of urine.
Sixty percent of secluded children have special needs. Seclusion rooms have caused nervous breakdowns. In extreme cases, students are locked inside and denied lunch.
Seclusion rooms need to be a sad fact of the past!!
In theory, seclusion rooms are supposed to separate physically aggressive students from their peers and faculty, but evidence debunks this argument. A Youngstown school used a seclusion room 42 times in one month. Only four of the cases were a result of physical aggression. At a school near Cleveland, a boy was sent to a ‘de-escalation area’ 30 times in just two months.
Professor Joe Ryan, vice president of the Council for Children With Behavioral Disorders, says that isolating students has severe risks that outweigh any alleged benefits. Barb Trader, executive director of the disability advocacy group TASH, said “Restraint and seclusion are being used for convenience and punishment rather than for kids who are truly dangerous.”
So why does the Ohio Department of Education insist on using Seclusion Rooms?
Studies show that children don’t learn in a frightening environment where they feel threatened. Children need safety and protection at school. The Ohio Department of Education needs to train its staff to discipline rather than punish, and put the barbaric days of child prisons behind us.
BAN SECLUSION ROOMS!