Mom complains about school disciplinary procedure

Says boy, 7, suffered rug burns during trip to isolation room

By

Published:

Updated: November 15, 2013, 5:05 PM

 

A Vancouver mother is outraged after she says her son, a student, was injured while being dragged across the carpet to an isolation room at Franklin Elementary School.

Vancouver school officials refused KOIN 6 News' request for an interview. The mom, Tammy Willis, said school leaders also refuse to give her all the details as to what happened inside her son's special education class at Franklin Elementary School.

Willis said school leaders did confirm they put her son into an isolation room as punishment for a fight. But they won't tell her much about that fight.

"It's just unacceptable," Willis said.

Willis said her autistic son, Gage, is normally a happy-go-lucky 7-year-old.

The special needs child was in class Wednesday when she said he got into some sort of fight with another boy. The way teachers handled her son then, Willis said, borders on child abuse.

"All he keeps saying is 'Mr. Justin dragged me across the room and put me in resolution,'" she said. "(It's) a padded room they lock."

Willis showed KOIN 6 News a photo of her son's back. She said it shows a rug burn from when the teacher dragged Gage across the carpet before putting him in isolation -- in a so-called padded "resolution room."

KOIN 6 News obtained the related health records from urgent care. Those records confirmed a "first-degree friction burn."

"It's heartbreaking," Willis said. "My kid has a hard time going to school with disabilities -- now he's afraid someone is going to hurt him."

When reached by phone, a school district spokesperson said officials dispute some of the facts in Willis' story but said they will investigate. However, that spokesperson declined a request for an interview, citing student privacy laws.

But Willis said teachers went too far.

"(I'm) very angry," she said. "Nobody has right to do that. If they were trying to keep him from harming himself, why not make sure he was off the ground?"

Willis had two meetings with school leaders on Thursday, and they urged her to bring her son back to school. But Willis said she has pulled her son out of class indefinitely -- and will now home-school the child.

Another mom, Wynema Thurman, told a KOIN reporter she was not surprised.

Her 7-year-old son, Sunhawk, shared special ed classes with Willis’ son. Thurman said her son does act out, “mainly because of being bullied ... about his long hair.”

She said Sunhawk was not physically forced or dragged into a resolution room, “but he got suspended (for acting out) but he was threatened with the resolution room.”

Resolution rooms are part of a special ed student’s individualized education plans and must be approved by a parent before being used.

Thurman said she did not approve the use of it for her son. She too has removed her son from the school.