School board defends seclusion rooms, reopens Virgo

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Submitted: Wed, 02/08/2012 - 3:25am
Updated: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 3:11pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The use of seclusion rooms in local schools has some parents fired up. One group NC Fear Free Education has filed a civil rights complaint over the use of these rooms. At Tuesday night’s New Hanover County Board of Education meeting, the rooms were questioned and defended.

As a parent, no one wants to have their child locked in a seclusion room, while intended for the child’s safety, the rooms can be frightening.

Sara Raider is a parent with experience having her child in these rooms.” They are padded rooms they look something like you would see in a prison, that’s what comes to mind. There’s nothing colorful on the walls just pads on both the walls and the floor. It’s very stark and not a place I would want to be.”

One of Sara’s concerns is the process for placing a child in seclusion. “I think that the laws that are in place allow for a lot of leeway, subjectivity where teachers make the call whether it’s an emergency situation or not. They can throw a book and that’s destroying property. I think the law and the system are set up to invite misuse of the practice.”

On the contrary, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rick Holliday says the rooms are a necessity, one that schools use with care. “The bottom line is we are following the law. No one wants any child hurt so our whole purpose in everything that we do is keeping all of the children safe, both the children who are having the issue and the other children as well, and we want to do that as safety as possible .

Also at Tuesday night’s meeting the board unanimously approved Superintendent Tim Markley’s proposal of how the former Virgo middle school will open as a public school next fall.


  • Guest461 says:

    If you don’t agree with the way the school system deals with your children that exhibit uncontrollable behavior, then keep your child at home and deal with them yourself! A very simple solution. You “parents” don’t want anyone saying anything to you child, you don’t want school officials touching your child in any fashion, you don’t want any kind of discipline that doesn’t fit YOUR convenient methodology, so DO IT YOUR SELF! Then…sit down and shut up! At that point you will no longer have ANYTHING to bi**h about!

    It absolutely amazes me the mentality of parents that shove their special needs children into the public school system for them to baby-sit, but don’t want ANY control parameters applied. A lot of these children have afflictions that display violent and destructive behavior. No, they can’t help it, but that doesn’t negate the fact that this behavior cannot be allowed to consistently disrupt class progress, much less injure other children, staff and property. These rooms are a simple and benign method of controlling these children during their outbursts and allowing them to “cool off” without physical intervention.

    And for the IDIOT comparing the school system following law to the influence of nazi rule? THAT is by far one of THE most ignorant and mis-directed statements I’ve read on this forum. Congratulations, you get the “Imbicile of the Year Award” very early in 2012!

  • Pissed says:

    I can not believe this….You must not have any kids if you say this is ok, these rooms are horrible and if my kids were every put in one I would be pissed! I just read about a 13 year old boy who was put in one of these and commited suicide in it by hanging him self with his belt!! these are young children who are not criminals and should not ever be put in a room like this EVER, if the child is that bad in class then the parents need to be called and the child should go to ISS in school suspinsion and sent home, but never put in a frekin padded cell….do you know what that does to a child? they cant process why they are put in there…absalute bull! doctors have done studies on this research it..its all negative, nothing good comes of this ever in any child!!! Im so pissed that ignorant people agree with this, I wonder how they would like to be put in a cell with nothing to look at or do for acting up in work….stupid people stupid schools, they will all be illegal soon enough thank god most states have banned them completly!!!

  • Phyllis M. says:

    Superintendent Holliday, how can you find the nerve to say these rooms are a necessity, one that schools use with care?? What a stupid thing to say.

    Parents all over the United States are protesting these horrible rooms that are only used only on special needs children. Would this room be ok for your child? Any person that works with special needs children SHOULD know that all behaviors are a form of communication so why would you toss a child into seclusion when they are trying to express their needs and wants? Why don’t you get your staff some training on how to understand behaviors and what the child is trying to express. At least you aren’t using a concrete seclusion room like some of the other schools use for the special needs population. How backwards and barbaric!

  • CCRES says:

    How stupid you sound! What gives me the right to go around expressing my needs? Forms of communication? There is a time and a place for all things and in a classroom with other normal kids who are attempting to learn is not the place for these types of children to be expressing their needs? Does that mean that all children have the right to get up and express their needs at anytime? Please! You sound as if you have a mental issue yourself.

  • GuestDoc says:

    I’m not Supt. Holliday, but I will answer the question. Would this room be ok for your child? Yes,absolutely the room that I see in the picture would be an appropriate/time-out seclusion room for my child if he cannot control his behavior appropriately in the classroom setting. And by controlling his behavior, I mean sitting there in class quietly, paying attention to the teacher who is teaching, and not disturbing the other students around him who are also in the room for the purpose of receiving an education. As someone who has worked in the field of behavioral health for 20 years, I am very well aware that when a special needs child acts out, that behavior is a form of communication. That communication of a need should be noted and dealt with. However, the right of another child to act out and disrupt the classroom ends where my child’s right to have a calm classroom environment that is conducive to learning begins.

  • Guest228 says:

    Close it down, keep it open, close it down, keep it open? Who makes these ridiculous decisions over at the school board? So the excuse of not having enough students at Virgo was a lie, it seems they only closed the school down to apply for a charter and lets remember who was going to be on the charter board for virgo, so when that plan failed, they want to reopen the school but what about the lie they used about virgo not having enough students? Its all about money and losing the real aspect in education which is the children. In the meantime, Holly Shelter Middle school is over run with fights and more resource officers than any other middle school behind greediness!

  • RSimmons says:

    The padded room makes a lot of sense in that it helps avoid injury to the child and the facility. Inclusion should not exclude the safety and rights of others.

    When my youngest was in 9th grade her art class had a student with mild retardation and emotional difficulties. Usually his emotions were under control through drug therapy but several times that year he had outbursts and would systematically go around the classroom destroying everything in his path and injuring himself. Only the resource officer was allowed to restrain him. By the time the resource officer got there the damage was already done.

    While I agree with former President Bush’s NCLB law that every child is entitled to a free and appropriate education, does this have to come at the expense of the other 20 students in the classroom?

    At a time when financial resources are thin for public education,the conversation IMO should be about whether we should be spending upwards of $30,000 a year on some of these multiple disabled students who are non-ambulatory and non-communicative.

  • Guest LRE says:

    You’d have to know the potential that exists in these kids to be able to make a proper, informed decision. This kid was a difficult student early on. His parents were told the boy would never amount to anything. Now he is 14 years old about to graduate college and is considered an Einstein, who by the way is thought to have had autism like disorder.

    Watch this 60 Minutes interview

  • Guest21 says:

    I have to agree with you. Dangerous children must be restrained or isolated, period. Many should not even be in public school if they endanger others. I say when the go off, isolate them and call the parents to come pick them up. Parents can deal with them much better than teachers. If parents do not want teacher intervention or restraint, maybe home teaching should be an option.

  • Teacher of EC says:

    These rooms are unsafe and I know that for a fact. These children are not like the children you are familiar with. Because of that they can not be treated as you would others. Some of these children could suffer long term serious problems and even death. According to a government study 200 children died over the past 5 years because of these rooms.

    Let’s hope some of you would bother to become educated about issues before you show your ignorance to the world.

  • David says:

    This is absolutely appalling. Schools operate in plenty of states without these disgusting prison cells.

    If a child acts up you call their parents and if the parents don’t want to do anything about it, you EXPEL them from the school. If this doesn’t work you send them to juvenile detention centers.

    You people should be ashamed of yourselves for supporting this kind of totalitarian crap.

  • FREEman says:

    “The bottom line is we are following the law.”

    Yeah the Nazis used that excuse too. We were just following orders…

  • CM says:

    This of course looks a bit institutional and jail-like so I understand why there are concerns. Looking back at my time in elementary school, students who acted out and became disruptive were sometimes removed to a vacant office, a disused classroom, or the mail room. These kids did not have mental issues (for the most part) so just being in a quiet space alone usually got them under control. This isn’t enough for a special needs child. There will be objects in offices and copy rooms that they could destroy or use to hurt themselves or other students so a padded room makes sense. I would hope that these rooms would be used only temporarily until a parent or mental professional arrives. Locking children in these rooms for an extended period of time could classify as abusive.

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