Oct 1, 2019, NBC News: Teachers sounding the alarm over ‘room clear’ method https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/teachers-sounding-the-alarm-over-room-clear-method-70384709684
One of the methods often used to control a child having a meltdown, “room clear” leaves the disruptive child in the classroom, while the other kids are moved out. The result can be classrooms torn apart, desk and tables upended.
VIDEO: "The videos are shocking, classrooms torn apart. Desks and tables upended."
Teacher: “I’ve had my things thrown around the room, ripped off the walls. I’ve been punched, kicked, stabbed with a pencil.”
Reporter: “How common is that?”
Teacher: “Pretty common.”
“Ashley Mae quit her teaching job in Des Moines at the end of last year, frustrated and frankly scared by some of her students.”
Teacher: “He would body check me [a deliberate obstruction of an opponent by placing one's body in the way] and grab me by my whistle, yank me down. I had another student who pulled back and just threw a punch at me.”
Reporter: “These kids are how old?”
“Like other teachers who took these photos, Mae would call for a room clear—a practice used when a student gets out of control: leave the disruptive child in the classroom while the other kids are moved out.”
Reporter: “Is clearing the room fair to the other students?”
Teacher: “Not fair. Not fair to anybody. The other students don’t get to learn, I can’t teach, my stuff’s getting destroyed. That student can’t learn.”
“Des Moines Superintendent Tom Ahart says room clears are a last resort that have become more common in the past decade. Enrollment is up, funding is down and there aren’t enough mental health providers for kids.”
Ahart: “Expectations on schools have changed dramatically, but the challenges we’re asked to deal with have increased while resources have been reduced.”
Reporter: “Your teachers are caught in the middle of all this.”
Ahart: “Absolutely.” “It’s happening nationwide education experts are saying because of stricter rules on teachers using physical restraint.”
Bob Cunningham: “So if schools have to be much more careful about restraining or removing kids from class, then one of the simpler things to do is to remove all of the other kids.”
“Bob Cunningham focuses on education policy at the nonprofit, Understood.”
Cunningham: “We need to figure why that kid is acting that way. Behavior is not accidental. It’s a communication method."
Next we’re shown the “special needs” student who stabbed Ashley Mae with a pencil.
Mother:“And that makes me feel so bad because I know he’s a good kid.”
“His mom, Dawn, feels badly for the other students but says there’s no other place for her son.”
Mother: “I want him to be socializing and hanging out with kids, but I do think he need to be in a smaller setting.”
“Ashley Mae hopes bringing the problem to light means more support for teachers."
Mae: “As this issue gets more attention and people understand, hopefully it pushes people to make a change.”
“Lester the education experts I spoke with said the solution is smaller class sizes, more teacher training, more mental health specialists—but of course all of that costs more money.”