Iowa: Putting screaming kids in solitary in schools

Oct 12, 2017, Iowa Schools Use Solitary Confinement As Punishment, And This Is Not OK

Isolation rooms

Oct 12, 2017, Iowa Schools Use Solitary Confinement As Punishment, And This Is Not OK Multiple Iowa school districts lock children in dark, confined boxes as a form of punishment A controversial new type of punishment has been making the rounds through Iowa schools during the last year. Tiny pine boxes with little to no light or ventilation, called “seclusion enclosures” are designed to confine children while disciplining them. Since when did we start criminalizing kids as a form of discipline? Many of these boxes are limited in size: six feet by six feet. And they can only be opened from the outside. It’s alarming, to say the least. If you’re thinking this is reminiscent of Trunchbull’s “chokey”in Matilda, you’re not alone. Parents and guardians who have children in Iowa school districts have been complaining about seclusion rooms since they started sprouting up last year. The walls of these rooms are often padded, with very little (if any) air flow or light. A complaint filed earlier this year cites some of the seclusion rooms as “a plywood box lined with foul-smelling black horse stall mats” with flooring made from recycled tires. “If I was to do what they did, it would be child abuse,” Tammy Mims, a former resident of Cedar Rapids, told The Progressive. “Why is it OK for the school district to do that to a child?” Mims is the guardian for a little girl who was locked inside one of these rooms, which used to be an old utility closet. She said she could hear the girl screaming to be let out in the background when she received a call informing her of the punishment. By the time she arrived at the school, her little girl had been let go from the room, but was still “traumatized” by the ordeal. Sending children to sit in a dark, cramped abyss seems counterproductive as a punishment for a child who is harming themselves or others, which is the intended use for these rooms — to serve as a drastic “time out” for violent kids. But that hasn’t stopped teachers and administrators from confining kids for minor grievances, like stepping out of line at recess or pouting, according to Iowan paper The Gazette. Students can spend up to an hour in the chokeys — ahem, seclusion rooms — and the school needs “special permission” to extend their time beyond t