A Michigan mother says a teacher locked her special needs son in a padded room for hours without letting him use the restroom.
Bridget's 8-year-old autistic son, Nathan, attends Paint Creek Elementary school in Lake Orion, Michigan, WJBK reports.
Bridget told the news station she received a message from Nathan's teacher on Sept. 19 informing her that her son had been misbehaving. Nathan was allegedly placed in a padded 8-by-8 room, called “the cooler,” as punishment.
“The purpose of the padded room is for students with special needs when they are feeling overstimulated if they need to calm down,” Bridget said.
But Nathan was reportedly left inside “the cooler” for over three hours.
“They called me to come pick him up because he defecated and urinated in there,” Bridget said. “And they suspended him.”
"Criminals get treated better than that," she added. "They can go to the bathroom."
She does not believe the room is being used as it should be -- for emergencies.
"If that's why they were using this padded room, because it was an absolute emergency, I should've been contacted immediately, not three and a half hours after it happened," Bridget said.
"He tried choking himself towards the end," she added. "They decided it was for attention."
District officials are investigating the incident but say that Bridget’s claims are unsubstantiated.
However, Bridget says she has text messages from Nathan’s teacher which validate her story.
She is concerned about other special needs children who aren’t able to speak for themselves.
"How do their parents know how long they were in there?" she asked. "How [are] the parents going to know how they felt?"
Bridget is seeking a safer place for her son to learn -- and legal action.
"I don't want this to happen again to him," she said. "And I don't want this to happen to anybody else."
Source: WJBK / Photo credit: WJBK