‘Seclusion Rooms’: Lexington’s Shame and Torture By Another Name

This happened in an elementary school in Lexington, MA, one of the tonier places in the state:

Once in kindergarten, Rose began throwing violent tantrums at home. She repeatedly watched a scene from the film “Finding Nemo” in which a shark batters its way into a tiny room, attempting to eat the main characters. The school provided no explanation or solution. Finally, on Jan. 6, 2006, a school aide called saying that Rose had taken off her clothes. We needed to come get her.

At school, her mother and I found Rose standing alone on the cement floor of a basement mop closet, illuminated by a single light bulb. There was nothing in the closet for a child — no chair, no books, no crayons, nothing but our daughter standing naked in a pool of urine, looking frightened as she tried to cover herself with her hands. On the floor lay her favorite purple-striped Hanna Andersson outfit and panties.

Rose got dressed and we removed her from the school. We later learned that Rose had been locked in the closet five times that morning. She said that during the last confinement, she needed to use the restroom but didn’t want to wet her outfit. So she disrobed. Rather than help her, the school called us and then covered the narrow door’s small window with a file folder, on which someone had written “Don’t touch!”

We were told that Rose had been in the closet almost daily for three months, for up to an hour at a time. At first, it was for behavior issues, but later for not following directions. Once in the closet, Rose would pound on the door, or scream for help, staff members said, and once her hand was slammed in the doorjamb while being locked inside.

Both the principal and the superintendent should be fired. Either they did not know this was occurring–and can not be trusted with the basic safety and health of the children under their care, or they approved this treatment willingly. The latter is even worse. If you give people the power to do this, they will misuse it. An earlier draft had the phrase “it’s similar to torture scandals”, but to a six year old child, this is torture. Like waterboarding and other forms of torture, it is not only disgusting, it does not work. Perhaps this is only what should be expected in a society that has slowl legitimized torture: we are now brutalizing our children.

Abu Gharib in the Commonwealth. God save it, indeed.

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3 Responses to ‘Seclusion Rooms’: Lexington’s Shame and Torture By Another Name

  1. About all I can say is “OMG”. That anyone can think this is ok is beyond literal belief…

  2. joemac53 says:

    After I went “OMG” I said the teacher and administrator in charge should be in the slammer.

  3. Pingback: Links 9/20/12 | Mike the Mad Biologist

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