Saturday, June 21, 2014

Violent and Legal: The Shocking Ways School Kids are Being Pinned Down, Isolated Against Their Will

Carson Luke, a young boy with autism, shattered bones in his hand and foot after educators grabbed him and tried to shut him into a “scream room.” Kids across the country risked similar harm at least 267,000 times in just one school year.
This story was co-published with NPR.

The room where they locked up Heather Luke's 10-year-old son had cinder block walls, a dim light and a fan in the ceiling that rattled so insistently her son would beg them to silence it.

Sometimes, Carson later told his mother, workers would run the fan to make him stop yelling. A thick metal door with locks—which they threw, clank-clank-clank—separated the autistic boy from the rest of the decrepit building in Chesapeake, Virginia, just south of Norfolk.

The room that officials benignly called the "quiet area" so agitated the tall and lanky blond boy that one day in March 2011, his mother said, Carson flew into a panic at the mere suggestion of being confined there after an outburst. He had lashed out, hitting, scratching and hurling his shoes. Staff members held him down, then muscled him through the hallway and attempted to lock him in, yet again.

But this time, the effort went awry. Staffers crushed Carson's hand while trying to slam the door. A surgeon later needed to operate to close the bleeding half-moon a bolt had punched into his left palm. The wound was so deep it exposed bone.

Carson's ordeal didn't take place in a psychiatric facility or juvenile jail. It happened at a public school.

For more than a decade, mental-health facilities and other institutions have worked to curtail the practice of physically restraining children or isolating them in rooms against their will. Indeed, federal rules restrict those practices in nearly all institutions that receive money from Washington to help the young—including hospitals, nursing homes and psychiatric centers.

 But such limits don't apply to public schools.

1 comment:

  1. 4 point restraint should ONLY be used when the child is in imminent danger to themselves or others... a last, last resort. In MCPS it is used for noncompliant students. If Johnny does not want to put down his crayon an move to the next assignment, escalation occurs (teachers are not taught to de-escalate) and 4 point restraint is "administered." Our child suffered from PTSD at the hands of physically abusive teachers and administrators, who put him in 4 point restraint and seclusion rooms (for issues of noncompliance) and then did not bother to report these incidents to us, the parents, as required by law.


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