SILVER CREEK N.Y. (WIVB) – Parents in the Silver Creek School District are left with more questions than answers after the school superintendent released a video message saying the claims of a so-called “isolation room” in the schools are false.
“I’m sorry, that’s not a sensory perception room, that is not a kid-friendly room, that is not a room where a child should be sent to,” said Deborah Steiner, whose grandson is a first-grader at Silver Creek Elementary.
Steiner said she’s outraged the district uses a de-escalation room to calm students down.
In a video message released Monday evening, School Superintendent Todd Crandall explained that room is used to help students gather their thoughts and composure.
“I think it’s all a bunch of hogwash — he’s playing with words,” Steiner said. “Yea, ok, so you’re going to put a five year-old in that room, with nothing in it but that dangerous bed, and think they’re going to de-escalate? I think not. I know, I deal with my grandson, with my granddaughter, that’s not going to happen. No way that’s not going to happen.”
Parents learned of the de-escalation room after school administrator Jay Hall wrote a letter to the school board claiming students were being locked inside the room. Hall has been placed on administrative leave.
The superintendent said that never happened. He adds, de-escalation rooms are, “a widely accepted method of addressing the needs of children.”
Michael Cornell, the president of the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents Association, said schools typically have a place to calm students down.
“In Hamburg, it’s in our school psychologist office, social workers office,” Cornell said. “When a child needs a moment to gather him or herself, we have the student, you know, we take the child, maybe into a different space, where we can work with the child where they child does not have the prying eyes of his or her classmates on that conversation.”
According to the U.S. Department of Education, “every effort should be made to prevent the need for the use of seclusion” and “restraint or seclusion should not be used as routine school safety measures.”