To discipline misbehaving students, public schools in Ohio and Florida regularly send children to “seclusion” — isolation in a locked cell-like room, old office, or closet,NPR’s State Impact reports. Many of these children are special needs students and their parents are not always told of this disciplinary practice.
Ohio schools — where seclusion is almost completely unregulated — sent students to seclusion rooms 4,236 times in the 2009-2010 school year. Sixty percent of these students had disabilities.
Florida schools secluded students 4,637 times in 2010-2011 and 4,193 in 2011-2012. 42 percent of seclusions were for pre-K through 3rd graders. In the 2011-2012 school year, 300 seclusions lasted more than an hour. The state has just three stipulations for using seclusion rooms: teachers may not choke or suffocate students, the room must be approved by a fire marshal, and the lights must be left on.
A joint report by StateImpact and Columbus Dispatch report found rampant abuse and lack of training of the punishment, which is meant as a last resort to deal with violent children...