In an effort get kids to “calm down,” a New York City elementary school confines kids as young as five in a padded cell, the New York Daily News reports today.
The Daily News says that two of the three youngsters who have been imprisoned in the nighmarish, cramped quarters decorated with nothing more than a single mat on the floor suffered freak-outs so severe that one of them needed to be hospitalized.
Each padded cell stay lasts 15 to 20 minutes.
The room, about the size of a walk-in closet, is reportedly used at KIPP Star Washington Heights Elementary School, a prestigious charter school in upper Manhattan. But the mother of the boy who was rushed to the hospital with an uncontrollable panic attack from being locked away in the cell has pulled her child out of the school to avoid any more incarcerations.
“He was crying hysterically,” said Teneka Hall, 28. “It’s no way to treat a child.”
Her son Xavier, 5, suffered a breakdown while sentenced to the so-called “cam down room,” meant for kids who act up in class, panicking and urinating on himself.
Another parent, Richard Betonces Sr, also removed his 7-year-old son, Richard, from the school due to repeated “calm down room” experiences.
“It was like being locked in jail,” said Betonces. “He was crying every day, scared he was going back. It’s made his mother depressed as well. It’s a terrible thing.”
School officials told the Daily News that the room has been in use since 2012 but only three students have ever been confined there.
“The calm-down room is used only as part of a behavior plan which was both developed in collaboration with and approved by the parents,” said Superintendent Josh Zola.
SOURCES: New York Daily News, Headlines and Global News