A 9 year old boy named Alex was found in tears, confined, and shivering in a small empty room today at School. Alex’s mom was taken to this room after being denied five times by the vice principal to accompany her to retrieve Alex. Immediately Alex’s mom pulled out her phone and started taking pictures as the vice principal tried to block her.
Alex was confined to this room for 90 minutes and was told he had to sit in the circle to earn 90 minutes in the classroom. But this wasn't the first time, far from it.
This room contains nothing but a hastily drawn circle in the center, where the child is expected to sit, and a large ball that serves as a seat for an accompanying administrator. The temperature of the room was frigid. Alex's mom was denied reentry into the room to take a photo of the thermostat.
Later that same evening of May 13th 2015, Alex’s parents asked him about this room and his treatment while in the room. What follows is a synopsis of their conversation.
Here are a few questions Alex’s parents asked Alex;
Parents - What is that room Alex?
Alex - It’s called the “focus room”. And it’s where bad children go and serve their in-school suspension (ISS).
Parents – How many times have you been in that room?
Alex – Almost every day, once for two straight days.
Parents – is it always cold?
Alex – Yes! I asked if I could get my jacket and was told no, the teach put her own jacket on and said “It’s sure nice to be warm”.
Parents – Are they mean to you in that room?
Alex – Yes, sometimes they shout at me and say rude things.
Parents – What rude things do they say?
Alex – I don’t know, I don’t want to talk about it.
Parents – What if you get hungry or need to go to the bathroom?
Alex – You’re not allowed! You don’t get your regular snack either!
Parents – Are you allowed to get any exercise?
Alex – No, I’m stuck there all day and if I don’t do what they tell me they make me stay there longer, I have to go back tomorrow since I couldn't sit in the circle because I was too cold…
If you have a son or daughter attending elementary school I strongly encourage asking your child about a “Focus Room” AND "Safety Room", go to the school and ask to see it for yourself, insist on it. This is where they're are putting your child when they misbehave, in a freezing room with not so much as a chair, or even a picture on the wall. No snacks, no exercise, confined to a small circle created by a marker. Is that any place for a 9 year old child?
Isolated, cold, confined to a circle drawn on a floor of a featureless room. Think about that for a minute. Who else deploys such tactics? And under what circumstances?
This story is far from over and sadly not very unique. We need to raise more awareness to these sorts of abuses and protect our children. Had the mother of this child not insisted aggressively to accompany the retrieval of her child then she would know any different.
What you can do:
Please like and share this post (https://helpingalex.squarespace.com) with as many people as you can to raise awareness and encourage other parents to look into their own schools disciplinary procedures.
Know your rights:
Know your rights as well as your children's, there are very clear guidelines and procedures regarding discipline and how "seclusion rooms", "Time out rooms", and other forms of confinement spaces by various names:
Contact your local congressman