New state laws for 'isolation' rooms in schools

New state laws for 'isolation' rooms in schools »Play Video
PASCO, Wash. - Rules for restraining and isolating students in quiet rooms are becoming more clear.

New state laws outline the proper guidelines of this often-controversial practice.

Last year we told you about a story in Longview. Isolation chambers that sparked controversy across the state.

Including here in the Tri-Cities, where only a handful of rooms exist.
The state passed new laws this summer calling for new procedures.

A full review with the school, parent and student must happen once a student is released from a safe room or restraint.

If any kind of force is used, pepper spray, mechanical restraint or physical force. A detailed written report must be submitted and parents, again, notified. This holds administrators accountable, protecting everyone involved.

Josette Mendoza is the principal at Emerson Elementary. They take a different approach, depending on the situation.

She said,"Yesterday I just sat on the floor with a kid and talked to him and we were able to process a little bit and they were able to come up and get back to where they needed to be."

Her school has two of only four de-escalation rooms in the district. They don't call them isolation rooms because they are not a form of discipline.

These areas are designed for kids who can't cope with normal classroom settings. Parents are given a daily report if and when they are used, keeping them in the loop.

Director of special education for Pasco schools, Tracy Wilson said, "If it wasn't something that was providing the appropriate results then we would look for a different type of intervention to work with that student."

She explained how the program works. Each program is customized to a students needs. Still the district focuses on other ways to help students. Trying to move away from the seldom used rooms put into practice.

Josette said,"We could be breathing. We could do, we have chill spots in the class rooms, special chairs.

They are working to help kids cope early on for greater success down the road.

The state doesn't give a deadline for districts to comply with the new law but each is working to get their plans in place as soon as possible.