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'Isolation booth' bothers some parents

A Washington elementary school causes controversy with its "therapeutic" box.

By Britt Olson MSN Living Editor Dec 4, 2012 4:42PM

A cushioned, seclusion booth in a public elementary school attracted a torrent of attention after a mother of a student posted a photo of it on Facebook.

Mint Valley Elementary School in Longview, Wash., claims to use the isolation booth for children with “behavioral disabilities,” reports Portland’s KATU-TV.

Photo: James Baigrie/Getty ImagesLongview Public Schools stated that the school employs the booth to treat unmanageable, disruptive students. The “therapeutic” practice has existed at the school for four years.

Washington State permits “seclusion” as a last resort for disorderly students who may be a danger to themselves or others.

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Approximately the size of a small elevator, the cushioned booth has peep holes and several air vents. There are no windows or chairs in the box; the student would be required to sit on the floor.

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Ana Bate photographed the booth after her 10-year-old son told her about it. He had witnessed other students being placed inside the small booth.

Bate took photos of the box the following day. She then posted them to Facebook.

Controversy following the booth’s disclosure has spurred the district to reconsider its policies on its use.

Photo: James Baigrie/Getty Images

Bing: Schools in the news.

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Dec 5, 2012 3:17PM

I've met all of my children's teachers and school staff over the years including the counselor and there is not one of them that I'd trust to make the best decision possible to put a child in something like this. If they have a problem with my kid...they need to contact a parent.


If a school signs off on using something like this....then parents need to be informed and sign off on this prior to it's use. I'm a parent and I'd have to see some some documentation from child psychologist or scientific evidence from studies that this type of punishment or restraint isn't going to create fear or cause other short term or long term psychological damage to my child.


Unless the child is violent or has known mental issues and unless both parents and the childs doctor has signed off on it's use.....I'd call the use of this "padded cell" cruel in inhumane.

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