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This Iowa school is locking kids in seclusion rooms to 'calm them down'


A Corridor, Iowa parent is still unhappy about what happened to her child at Pierce Elementary School in Cedar Rapids.

"I asked what was the wetness on the floor and she said it was from her crying from when they shut her in the utility closet."
Tammy Mims, parent

According to the complaint filed in April, Tammy Mims' daughter got upset when she could not finish her test. She was told she had to skip recess to make up the work.

Mims said the young girl became upset and was taken to the seclusion room.

"She had explained to me that they kept opening the door and shutting it telling her to calm down like it was a game, but it wasn't a game to her she was scared."

Just last week, another complaint was filed against Cedar Rapids Schools' use of seclusion rooms, but not all districts are using them.

"The behavior is not the problem there's usually something else behind the behavior," explains Matt Townsley, the Solon Community School District’s director of instruction and technology.

That is why Solon Community School District uses other techniques like verbal and written cues, to calm a student down.

"Whether that's a student seeking attention from an adult or a student seeking attention from a peer or a student trying to escape some type of a thing like they don't like math or they don't like what's going on in class," said Townsley.

Iowa City Community School District is planning to phase out all seclusion rooms during the 2018-2019 school year.

"I hope to get rid of all of the seclusion rooms and to educate the teachers and train them to help the children out."
Tammy Mims

Cedar Rapids Community School told CBS 2 News they had assembled a task force to study the district's use of seclusion rooms. They are also providing de-escalation training for all teachers.

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