Mint Valley, WA: SPED kids put in isolation booth "for disciplinary reasons"

Updated: Jun 6, 2018

Dec 21, 2017, Longview (WA) Daily News: Former Mint Valley principal defends isolation booth in federal court Former Mint Valley Elementary Principal Patrick Kelley denied allegations Wednesday that five students were illegally forced into the school’s isolation booth in 2012. But lawyers representing the children pressed Kelley on whether school policy at the time could have allowed general education students to be placed inside the 4-by-4-foot padded booth without documentation or their parent’s knowledge. The Longview School District is the defendant in a federal lawsuit that could result in millions of damages if an eight-member jury finds in favor of the children and their families. The plaintiffs claim that the students’ disabilities were aggravated when former special education teacher Jerry Stein allegedly placed them inside the booth for disciplinary reasons when the children were general education students. … Stein, a longtime district employee, ran the Children’s Learning Center at Mint Valley at the time of alleged use of the isolation booth. The center, which housed the booth, served about a dozen of the district’s most behaviorally challenged students. … Administrators say the booth was primarily intended for special education students with individual education plans (IEPs) at the time. However, the school also was authorized by state law to use the booth on students who presented an “imminent likelihood of serious harm” to themselves or others. … Davidheiser also challenged Kelley on the lack of a school policy governing the use of restraint and isolation for general education students.