CNN article: Children forced into cell-like school seclusion rooms

By Ashley Fantz
CNN

MURRAYVILLE, Georgia (CNN) – A few weeks before 13-year-old Jonathan King killed himself, he told his parents that his teachers had put him in “time-out.”

The room where Jonathan King hanged himself is shown after his death. It is no longer used, a school official said.

[Two photos taken after Jonathan King's death show the interior and exterior of the steel door to the cell where he hanged himself . In the photo on the right, which shows the inside of the cell, we can see the cord Jonathan used to hang himself tied to the metal cage-like window of the door. A school official has said that the room is no longer used.]

“We thought that meant go sit in the corner and be quiet for a few minutes,” Tina King said, tears washing her face as she remembered the child she called “our baby … a good kid.”

But time-out in the boy’s north Georgia special education school was spent in something akin to a prison cell — a concrete room latched from the outside, its tiny window obscured by a piece of paper. Called a seclusion room, it’s where in November 2004, Jonathan hanged himself with a cord a teacher gave him to hold up his pants. An attorney representing the school has denied any wrongdoing.

Seclusion rooms, sometimes called time-out rooms, are used across the nation, generally for special needs children. Critics say that along with the death of Jonathan, many mentally disabled and autistic children have been injured or traumatized. Few states have laws on using seclusion rooms, though 24 states have written guidelines, according to a 2007 study conducted by a Clemson University researcher.

Read the entire CNN article here: http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/17/seclusion.rooms/index.html

Thanks to Doug Baynton for alerting members of the Disability Studies in the Humanities listserv to this article.

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One thought on “CNN article: Children forced into cell-like school seclusion rooms

  1. I have written a piece on the Time-Out Rooms used at Michener Centre, drawing on Foucault and Goffman, and from interviews with 21 insitutional survivors – these survivors outine truly dehumanizing ‘disciplinary’ practices in that ‘special education’ facility. I will try to post a PDF of this paper elsewhere – not very good at technology, I’m afraid.

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