Apr 9, 2013 6:46 PM by Jessica Holley - firstname.lastname@example.org
CORPUS CHRISTI - A family is questioning the way Calallen East Elementary disciplines its students. The parents say their child is being locked in a room because of behavior problems. Texas Education Agency guidelines prevent this kind of punishment.
"'Momma, she goes 'they put me in this room.' And I said what room?" says Nancy Ferdin, Mariah's mother. The room that's being criticized is called the 123 Redirect Room.
"You pick an 'x' this is the ground and it's basically a closet," says Ferdin.
Mariah's mother thinks the room at Calallen East Elementry is too small. Ferdin says, her daughter's been sent there 27 times this school year and her slips that would fill a tabletop show each time she's been sent there, ranging from talking while in line to the latest incident where Mariah hit another student.
"They are punishing these children, they are not disciplining them, they are punishing them," says Ferdin.
But the TEA tells us there is no standard for sizes of disciplinary rooms, but there are rules about locking children in rooms as a form of discipline.
"A student who receives special education services cannot be confined in a locked box, locked closet, or another other specially designed locked space as neither a disciplinary practice or behavioral management technique," says DeEtta Culbertson, Texas Education Agency.
Ferdin says her daughter was diagnosed with ADHD last year and does take medication to help with her behavioral problems. The TEA's procedures for use of restraint and time-out states that no child can actually be locked in a room for a time out.
"I said this is basically like jail and she said oh no this doesn't have bars," says Ferdin.
Ferdin is referring to the school principal, who gave Ferdin a tour of the disciplinary area last week. But her parents feel that Mariah has been labeled as the bad child, and isn't getting the help needed for her disabilities-- which is why the Ferdins are suing the school district. Because of the pending hearing with the tea the school district refused to comment on this situation or the 123 Redirect Room. But according to Mariah's mom the school says they are pleased with the result they get from this program.