IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - Iowa City Schools announced it would stop using seclusion rooms to deal with children having violent outbursts. The decision comes just months after the state ruled the district over-used the rooms.
In June, the Iowa Department of Education ruled the district violated federal law in some instances while using seclusion rooms and recommended changes to the district's policy.
Since then, the district says it has launched a review of each seclusion room in the district and has removed several already. Superintendent Stephen Murley said the district would work to remove all such seclusion rooms.
Several Iowa school districts use seclusion rooms as a way to isolate children dealing with mental health break downs, particularly ones with violent outbursts. The rooms are legal but their use is controversial.
Here is the full note sent to parents Tuesday night:
"A message from IOWA CITY COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICTGood Evening Families,The Iowa City Community School District is committed to the safety and well-being of all of our students and staff. The District is committed to discontinuing the use of temporary seclusion rooms (sometimes referred to in the general public as “isolation boxes”) within our schools by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. The District recognizes the role of restraint and seclusion in providing a Free and Appropriate Public Education for all students in a Least Restrictive Environment within our schools and is seeking ways to improve our practices. The District also recognizes that students with a formal safety plan developed in coordination with parents/guardians may have needs that differ and the District will work with parents to meet their student’s needs. The District has been reviewing each site and the student needs within each school using the recommendations of the Restraint and Seclusion Task Force. The District has completed the work to eliminate 7 temporary seclusion rooms within our schools and we plan to eliminate the remaining temporary seclusion rooms throughout the District by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. We will provide continuous updates as we move through the process, including working with parents, students, and staff.
Iowa City Community School District"