News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Metro RTA

Lehmans

Knight Foundation


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Education


Ohio's likely policy on use of seclusion will likely have few teeth
But the state Board of Education is considering a policy that makes it clear that seclusion and restraint is not a punishment
by WKSU's MOLLY BLOOM


Reporter
Molly Bloom
 
Brendon Spencer says his old public school, Crestwood Elementary in Mantua, used a spare office as an impromptu seclusion room. He says being ignored by teachers and taken out of class to "cool down" only made him more upset.
Courtesy of Molly Boom
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

The state Board of Education is set to vote for the first time on whether Ohio schools should have to follow standard rules about the use of seclusion rooms. Ohio schools’ use of seclusion and restraint of children with disabilities has come under scrutiny in the past year after a joint investigation by the Columbus Dispatch and StateImpact Ohio found teachers sometimes use the rooms to punish children. StateImpact Ohio’s Molly Bloom reports the policy aims to balance the concerns of educators with the treatment of students with special needs.

BLOOM: What the state has in mind for seclusion rooms

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:21)


Morgan Linnabary was 8 years old when he was sent to a special school for children with behavior problems. 

At the new school, when he mouthed off to teachers or got upset, he was sent to the isolation room: a plywood box inside a separate room down the hall. Morgan says it happened dozens of times. 

“It’s like ‘No, no just give me some time to calm down.’ And [they’d be] like, ‘No you’re going to isolation.’ They would not listen to your pleas of I can calm down if you give me some time,” he said. 

Officials at Morgan’s old school in Defiance County, Ohio, didn’t return our calls seeking comment. 

That’s not how seclusion rooms are supposed to be used. Experts say children are only supposed to be shut in the rooms if they’re a danger to themselves or others.  

Morgan says being shut in a seclusion room might have taught him not to mouth off to teachers. But it didn’t help him learn how to read, write, or do math. 

“If you got sent to isolation that halts the whole thing. Stops the whole process of the day,” he said. 

Limits on proposed seclusion limits
The new proposed state policy explicitly says seclusion can only be used in emergencies. It requires school staff to get training in teaching positive behaviors.

But it has some loopholes. 

The new policy would only apply to traditional public schools – not charter schools. 

And it could prevent the public from knowing whether schools are using seclusion and restraint properly. 

When a student is put in a seclusion room or is restrained by staff, schools would have to record it in that student’s file. But those records would be confidential. And the policy does not require schools to track how often they seclude or restrain students, or the reasons why. 

Lee Smith is a principal at Louisville Elementary School in northeast Ohio. He’s one of the school administrators waiting to see the final result of state policy discussions. 

Smith doesn’t use the term seclusion room.

Sensory vs. seclusion
His school has what he calls sensory rooms with padded walls, curtained windows, beanbag chairs on the floor and a sling that children can use as a hammock. The rooms do have doors and are used primarily for children with special needs. 

Smith says the rooms are usually used as refuges for kids who are having meltdowns and need a private place to calm down.  But Smith doesn’t track how often the rooms are used, or how. 

Still, Smith says his teachers know that simple misbehavior is not a reason to restrain or seclude a child. 

“Period, end of discussion. We’re not even going down that path. If they’re shuffling their little feet down the hallway and they’re turning around screaming at you or whatever—I don’t care. Our staff understands that mentality,” he said. 

Andrea Unklesbay, teaches kindergarteners and first graders with multiple disabilities at Louisville Elementary. Unklesbay says she has not seen its “sensory room” used to discipline students, but she favors uniform guidelines. 

“Maybe it would be good for the whole state be on the same page about that. I think that if everyone had rules and guidelines and stuff like that across the state that would be really cool, I think,” she said.

If the state board approves the new policy, it would take effect starting next school year.

 


Related WKSU Stories

Ohio Board of Education pushes back seclusion room decision to later date
Friday, December 7, 2012

American Civil Liberties Union wants to get rid of seclusion rooms
Thursday, October 25, 2012

Locked away: Schools use crisis rooms in non-crises
Friday, August 3, 2012

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

The Black Keys guitar tech's moment in the spotlight
Nice job, Vivian. It's always nice to hear about the unsung heroes getting their due! Thank you, Chuck Johnston (Full disclosure - I'm a friend of the Carney fa...

Akron's Tuba Christmas: A resounding blast of holiday spirit
Nice piece, Vivian! Looking forward to hearing you move from flute to tuba on Saturday. Love hearing your interviews and this seemed extra special since I kno...

Cleveland Hugo Boss workers are fighting for their jobs again
Bro. Ginard; I support your effert to keep your jobs, I understand all about concesions, I was a Union offical from 1965 until 1991 and the company th...

Asian Carp control could benefit from bill passed by House, heading to the Senate
help me fight the battle against invasive carp by method of harvest

Ohio's Portman supports lifting limits on party political money
If Portman was legitimately concerned about outside groups influence on elections he would have supported the DISCLOSE act. Instead he helped block it being bro...

Study shows trade with China has cost more than 3 million U.S. jobs
I disagree with James Dorn! If we don't change the playing field and make it a fair competition the whole US industry will be weaker and weaker. Eventually all ...

Video of Cleveland police shooting a 12-year-old is critical to the investigation
While I think this is a very unfortunate, the fact is that police are trained to aim for the large mass of a human to stop them. If they aimed for the leg it w...

Wayne County teacher says he was fired for criticizing dairy
This is bull crap Smithville Schools have changed ever since the new school I'm so ashamed at the district I wish I could pick my house up and move it to anothe...

White Castle is closing its five Northeast Ohio restaurants
you should open a white castle in logan ohio.i'm pretty sure you disappointed,thank you...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University