Stricter guidelines sought for use of padded booths at schools

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BELLEVUE, Wash. - What schools call safe or isolation rooms, soft-walled closet-sized booths akin to a padded cell, are in the sights of lawmakers who want stricter guidelines to protect children.

 

In the Bellevue School District, the spaces are called safe rooms and they're only used with permission from the child's parents.

 

Children are put in the rooms in extreme situations in which students are endangering themselves or others.

 

Under current state law, schools can isolate students in such rooms without parental permission and are not required to notify the parents their child has been disciplined with isolation.

 

House Bill 1688 would require schools to notify parents within two days.

 

The schools would also have to document the specific behavior that led to the isolation and what was done to try and resolve the situation before using the isolation room.

 

A record would have to be kept of how the student was restrained, for how long and how they reacted to the isolation.

 

Lawmakers said the point of the bill is to ensure isolation discipline is only used when absolutely necessary.

 

The bill is scheduled for a vote in the House Committee on Education Thursday.

 

By many accounts, there's a lot of support for the bill.