1. Parenting

Restrained in a Cubicle With Mats on the Door

Share Your Story: Share Your Child's Experience With Restraint and Seclusion

By Samantha Spencer

Age/Grade of Child at Time of Incident

9/4th grade

Child's Disability or Special Needs

Aspergers- Anxiety

Type of School or School Placement

Transition between mainstream and special-needs classroom that is supposed to meet his needs at South Shore in Albany, OR w/specialized staffing available in all classes.

Who Was Involved in the Incident

The primary Special Ed teacher, 2 assistants and a 3rd mainstream teacher.

What Happened

My son was expecting a prize he believed he earned. Staff told him that he did not earn it. He began getting upset and they took him to the specialized class. Once there alone, he has a scale and IEP and they did not follow anything on it and admit to this. They all continued to tell him "their expectations" and w/four adults around him taking things he picked up as he got madder it escalated and he began to throw markers. Two aides restrained him and put him in a cubicle and used mats on the door. He started fighting to get out, smashing his arm. Nobody talked to him during this per their debriefing.

How We Handled It

The school had called me and said that when he was "upset within a half hour of riding the bus he would need to be picked up." They did not say anything else. I called my husband who was closer. When my husband walked in on the chaos and saw them smashing our son in the doorway of a cubicle he told them to let him out now. They hesitated and then did it. He left immediately. Since then we had follow-up meetings with the school but their attitude has been very poor toward the situation and we have refused to return our son to a situation that has not changed. We currently have a Disability Rights Oregon attorney working with us and would like to transfer schools. The district special-ed director told us he will not allow our son to go anywhere else and we would just have to return him there to "see how it improves there." We are not willing to do that with that kind of guarantee. We have had other problems with their program. Our son has been out of school since Nov 2nd at this point and our next meeting is Dec 13th. The disctrict just agreed to implement a tutor after trying to bully us w/a truancy threat. This school is not our home school and there is another school w/an autism program we are fighting to get him into. Maybe they can follow his plan. We have a 5 point scale, IEP and FBA on file and have had meetings about these things.

We have also started a Facebook page for restraint and seclusion awareness. I cannot fathom why the school is refusing to work with us. We have had no less than 3 meetings and the trainer for the school said that it was innapropriate for the staff to use the mats and she would be discussing this with them. However the teacher and district special-ed director act as though this is all on us and we need to send him back and move on. All talks of them changing how they do things only took place w/one person when they were not present. The special ed director told us whether it's lawful is all an "interpretation" of the law. So at this point we will see what happens with the attorney and director at the next meeting we have. I must say we have continued giving this program leeway and this was just the straw that broke the camel's back. Our son has refused to go and shown other red flags. He has said he dislikes this teacher and complained for a while.


  • Our advice would be don't let the school bully you and educate yourself on the rules. You may have the best-meaning people but they still answer to administration and when it comes down to it you are your childs advocate.

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