NJ school ‘calm-down space’ looks like padded prison cell, parents say
MONROE (Gloucester) — The father of a special-needs student has gone public with images of what he said is a "seclusion room" in his son's classroom.
Scott Reiss shared the pictures on Facebook of what appears to be a very small space lined with "old disgusting gym pads." Reiss said the room at the Whitehall Elementary School is "no bigger than my coat closet."
An unnamed district official told NJ.com that the space is meant to protect special-needs students from hurting themselves or others, and can also be used as a place for them to go when they feel overwhelmed.
In his Facebook post, Reiss said the family has offered to come up with alternatives, but have not had any success, and the space is still there after a month.
The child's mother told the Courier-Post that the third-grader described the space as being "like jail."
Schools Superintendent Richard Perry told the Courier-Post that the pictures shared by Reiss are not an accurate depiction of the room.
"Those pictures he posted are not anything like what the room is," Perry told the paper. "It's a space that many school districts have when you have kids with high-level behavior problems that need a place to go and be monitored and calm down."
Perry told the paper that the rooms are called "calm-down spaces."
The superintendent did not return a phone call from New Jersey 101.5 seeking comment as of Thursday afternoon.
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