Sticking Troubled Children in Isolation Booths is a Disgrace

Besides the fact that isolation booths represent the height of cruelty, one wonders how in the age of instant lawsuits and strict health and safety regulations such a monstrosity could ever be used by schools.

Can you imagine the lawsuit that would arise if a child got overheated or had a panic attack in one of those things?

And looking at the contraption, I can’t help but wonder how expensive it would be to get one. How can schools complain about funding when they spend their finances on a booth that will likely emotionally scar its students?

A concerned mother who posted photos of an “isolation booth” in a Longview elementary school on Facebook said she wanted other parents to know how the school uses the space.

Ana Bate said her son saw the booth in use at Mint Valley Elementary School, and had questions.

The school principal said the padded room is used for students who have behavioral disabilities.

Parents of eight or nine students at the school have given permission for their kids to be placed in the booth if necessary.

“How come they’re not providing documentation about how this ‘therapeutic booth’ is beneficial?” said Bate. “Show me some real numbers. Show me something from the medical community that says more times than not and all the documentation that backs it up. Don’t tell me ‘well, their parents said we could do it.’”

The superintendent of Longview Public Schools said the booth is an effective therapy tool for students with special needs, and has been for years.

District spokeswoman Sandy Catt told KATU News students whose parents gave permission are placed in the booth when they are acting in a way that could be harmful to themselves or others.

None of the parents who gave the district permission to place their kids in the booth has complained, Catt said. But because of the many complaints from other parents, the district is reviewing how the booth is used.

“I believe that room has served a good therapeutic purpose and there may be improvements,” said Catt. “I think we need to look at the information that’s been gathered to determine where to go from here.”

Therapy? You have got to be kidding! Successful therapy changes habits and behaviours. This doesn’t change the way children behave. All this does is keeps them in a holding cell so that the teacher can deal with the problem easily and expediently.

But guess what? Education isn’t just about what’s easiest for the teacher. Sure. it’s important that teachers get the support that they need to handle difficult situations, but there is something just, if not more important, than the teacher’s welfare – the students’ welfare.

These booths need to be tossed in the scrap heap. They need to be replaced with people. Councillors, Principals, Aides etc.

An isolation booth further reinforces that the child is different and a problem. Most of these children act the way they do because of real issues they are confronting in their lives. These issues can only properly be worked through by people, not booths.


Click on the link to read The Dog Eat Dog Style of Education

Click on the link to read Problem Kids, Suspensions and Revolving Doors

Click on the link to read You Don’t Get Respect From Punishing Every Disorderly Act

Click on the link to read When Something Doesn’t Work – Try Again Until it Does

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2 Responses to “Sticking Troubled Children in Isolation Booths is a Disgrace”

  1. John Tapscott Says:

    That is a disgrace! It reveals a management totally bereft of vision, and any teacher using such a monstrosity on a child doesn’t deserve to be.

    If behaviour is a problem, I believe it needs a radical solution. The word radical comes from the Latin, radix, which means root. For a radical solution one must first recognise the root.

    If the direction being taken by education in this country, under a narrow regime of high stakes testing, i.e. NAPLAN, results, as I think it must, in more students experiencing problems, manifesting as behaviour disturbance, then that is the root of the problem.

    According to Sir Ken Robinson
    schools kill creativity in students. He traces the development of this loss of creativity from kindergarten, where children are highly motivated and creative, to high school, where children are more apathetic and less creative.

    The maladaptive behaviour is not the problem. It’s a symptom of a problem. If you lock a child in a padded cell all you achieve is a removal of the symptom. At the same time you will certainly compound the problem.

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