Phoenix School’s ‘Scream Rooms’ Under Fire

Reports of a 5-by-5-foot padded enclosure where misbehaving kids are sent as punishment has many parents in Arizona upset and disappointed.  The state does not have any laws prohibiting seclusion and even restraint for students–some with special needs–who are majorly disruptive and need to calm down, according to local news station CBS 5. From CBS5.com’s report on the “scream rooms:”

Leslie and Eric Noyes are the proud parents of a 7-year-old boy.

“He’s just a great kid, you know?” Eric Noyes said.

The second-grader has some special needs, so he was placed in the special education class at Desert Sage Elementary School in the Deer Valley Unified School District.

One day he came home with a disturbing story.

“He has been complaining about being restrained – he uses that word, restrained. And being put into cool down,” Leslie Noyes said.

“I was thinking there’s probably some bean bag chairs, maybe some books and just a room to get away from his general class. I had no idea it was literally almost a padded cell,” Eric Noyes said.

Leslie went to school armed with a camera and took pictures as proof.

They show a 5-foot by 5-foot padded box placed inside an empty classroom.

“My son has said he’s been there anywhere from a few minutes to almost all day,” Leslie Noyes said.

CBS 5 News went to Deer Valley with the accusations that a young boy saying he wasn’t even let out to use the bathroom, and that he had to eat lunch in there.

They refused to speak with us on camera, but released a statement that reads in part, “If a child requires the use of seclusion/physical intervention, parents are notified as soon as possible within the same school day.  Two adults always accompany the child when secluded.  This is the last method of behavior management schools use with a student.”

Deer Valley’s spokesperson also said Eric and Leslie’s son has been in the room 17 times since October, but they deny he was left there any longer than 15 minutes at a time.

Image: Phoenix area “scream room” chamber, via KPHO.com.

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