“Isolation Box” Stirs Controversy At Elementary School

The booth is reportedly used to calm disabled students when they turn violent.

Mint Valley Elementary School in Longview, Washington, is receiving complaints over its “isolation box” — a ventilated padded booth apparently used to calm disabled students with behavioral problems — after parent Ana Bate posted a photo of it on Facebook. A sample of comments from fellow parents, via KATU News:

“seriously … have the police been notified that this is being used??”
“that is terrible and should NEVER be used regardless if the child is out of control or not.”
“if a parent did that at home they would get put in jail!!!”

The school told KATU these parents may not have all the facts. Of the 6,500 students in the Longview School District, spokeswoman Sandy Catt says, only eight or nine students use the isolation box, and all have parent permission. Students are locked in the box, but a staff member is always monitoring outside of it.

But that hasn’t changed some parents’ minds about the danger of the booth. KATU News reports that Bate’s 10-year-old son once saw “a female aide came up behind a boy, [pick] him up off the floor and [drop] him into the isolation box. He landed on the floor and cried the entire time.”

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Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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