A special needs Mansfield school student was repeatedly detained in a closet-like room for discipline, which has sparked a strong reaction from parents across Texas.
Edwin Villegas’ parents have withdrawn him from Annette Perry Elementary School after they learned the 7-year-old was held 21 times this school year in what the Mansfield Independent School District calls a “calm” room.
Bridget Villegas, Edwin’s mother, said she has still not received documentation required by state law from the school about the discipline for her special education student who is autistic and bipolar. She said she only saw the “calm” room for the first time Friday.
The mistreatment and neglect of special needs children in Texas is inexcusable. These teachers are supposed to understand exactly how to deal with these children and should understand that a “calm” room that looks like a jail cell is unacceptable. Just like any other human being, being put in a confined room for prolonged periods of time is cruel and not right.
These inexperienced teachers should undergo a series of trainings to ensure that they know what to do in a situation where a student might get a little out of hand, which I can guarantee does not include locking them in a closet.
This kind of punishment does not actually calm anyone down and can cause serious psychological damage to any special needs child. It’s degrading for the child, and the school should have stepped in to protect this child’s safety. Chances are that this special needs child cannot control his outbursts and just needs to be sat down and talked to. Special needs children deserve the same treatment and rights as other students.