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School board defends seclusion rooms, reopens Virgo

READ MORE: Parents question, Board of Education defends use of seclusion rooms.

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.

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