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Alternet: “Isolation Rooms” in Elementary Schools: Are They Treatment or Punishment?

A Washington state public elementary school is under fire over its use of a “isolation room”–a small padded box that, to many, appears similar to solitary confinement boxes used inside prisons.

The school district has explained that the room is designed to be a calming space for children with severe behavioral disabilities, and that no student placed in the “isolation room” without written permission from his or her parents.

However, a handful of parents and grandparents have told a local news station that their children were also placed in the “isolation room” without parental permission, sparking intense questions around whether the room is a method of intense therapeutic treatment for some of the school district’s most disabled students or whether it has also become a form of punishment for any child that is acting out in the classroom.

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