Administrators Take Heat For ‘Scream Room’ Controversy At Connecticut School

Farm Hill Elementary Now Says Closets To Only Be Used For Special Needs Kids

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Are they “scream” rooms or “quiet” rooms?

Whatever they’re called, they’ve generated a lot of controversy at one Connecticut elementary school.

But on Friday, administrators said they were virtually doing away with the practice of locking unruly students up, reports CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois.

Parents vented their anger Thursday night at a packed Farm Hill Elementary PTA meeting. Much of the shouting concerned the school’s use of so-called “quiet” rooms, where teachers would send misbehaving students. The children were locked inside the small, windowless spaces until they calmed down.

“There’s confusion with kids screaming, have to go to the room to scream. Okay, let them scream 25 feet away from everybody instead of right in the middle of everybody,” one father said facetiously.

Administrators initially defended the use of what they referred to as “time-out rooms.” They had apparently been in use for some time, but many parents said they only recently learned of their existence. Their outrage grew as they learned of nine separate calls to 911 concerning students inside the room.

“What has changed in the school to make it go from the most admired to us being ashamed to say our children come here? Sometime in the he last year and a half, two years, things changed and my own personal opinion is it had a lot to do with redistricting,” one parent said.

Complaints from parents prompted two state agencies to get involved this week. After Friday’s announcement, it’s unclear if their investigations will go forward.

The school is not eliminating the quiet rooms, but said it will only be used by a handful of registered special needs students.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below. …

  • Christy

    All children have a right to a free, appropriate education. It’s a Civil Right! Back when the majority of us were in school ourselves, many of the more severely handicapped were institutionalized in often deplorable settings. If parents had a child who was difficult to teach or out of control, they probably didn’t send them to school. The mother probably stayed home with them, rather than going to work. And, yes, many of these difficult to raise children probably and unfortunately, were abused. Today, both parents have to work. All children have a right to an education. We’ve always had children in society who have difficulty learning: academically and socially. It is not just the fault of the parents. Many people, who are good parents, have a child with special needs. I am a special education teacher and have been for over 28 years, in Iowa and Minnesota. I went into this field to help teach children with learning problems and to help them become happy and productive people. They deserve a life of dignity and meaning. It is up to us to learn how to guide and teach them in society today, so they can learn to live in society today. All children can learn. They may not all learn the same lessons as our normal/above average children are able to learn. But each child has a right to be taught with safety and dignity. Each child has a right and a need to grow to learn something meaningful for them. For some, it may be just getting up and getting themselves ready for the day – independently. For others, it may be going to a job in a sheltered workshop. And for the majority of us, it is getting up and making the most out of our day to be productive and positive role models for our children to learn from.

    I’m saddened by the name calling and accusations easily thrown out on these comment pages. What happened to helping each other out? It is difficult to be a parent today, let alone be a parent of a child with special needs. None of us are born with parenting skills. Parents need the support of others to manage day to day life. Please be more understanding.

    It will be interesting to learn how this school district adapts to all of us looking in. Yes, they’ve probably made some mistakes. You don’t get far in this profession without making some. But the important thing is to take this situation and improve it. Learn from it.

  • Caitie

    Please use your critical thinking skills and consider that these “little monsters” and “screaming spoiled brats” are legitimate special needs students with misunderstood disorders like aspergers syndrome and autism. These same perfectly innocent children were once sent to insane asylums back in the day which exacerbated their ticks and cheapened their lives. Time out closets, scream rooms, or whatever you want to call them, are no way to treat any human, let alone a human who may be so deeply affected by such ignorance.

    • Kay Konz

      Thank you, Christy, for a thoughtful and forgiving response. It appears that you have benefited from your education in being able to write a coherent response, and learned about forgiveness as a Christian. Perhaps liberals are not good at judging and forgive too readily.
      As a woman raised in parochial schools, worked as a special education teacher, and now specialize in treating traumatized children as a mental health provider, while dealing with my own disability. Abuse occurred in the good old days in Christian schools and it exists today with professional persons with special needs.
      While I am aghast at this abuse, I am also sure that there are many factors that contributed to the situation, probably including limited funding for professional resources such as staff and training. I also would speculate that the kinds of behaviors seen in our school children now treated in public and not behind institutional walls, are created by many factors, including poverty, and other factors being investigated, such as the impact of constant white noise of the environmental technology on the developing brain.
      I sincerely hope that this school has teachers like Christy who are willing to focus on fixing the problem and not the blame.

  • jerseyjoey

    American people have become spoiled lazy Yuppies , to obcessed with self gain , these liberals and others think that because they pay school taxes then the schools are also their kids baby sitter and nanny. This is why we have problems with our school systems , it all comes back down to lazy spoiled parents who are to busy making money to raise their brood so they dump them on socirty. Schools should remove these kids and tell parents its your duty to teach them social matters not ours and until your problem child learns this and stops disrupting the other good children here to learn they are not welcome to class until they are behaved. Then again we are talking liberal conn. wfj

  • Deborah Jeffries

    When I went to elementary school in Stamford, CT in the 1970’s, teachers were allowed to hit and I mean abuse children. I was repeatedly locked in closets for punishment and had a lock of hair ripped out of my head by my second grade teacher. I also witnessed another student being dragged by his hair down a hallway by the Principal. If teachers or principals did this today, they’d be in prison. I’m 43 years old and developed phobias from being locked in closets. Locking up a child is abuse PERIOD.

  • DP

    “Time outs” – and a space to take the time out has been advocated as an alternative to spanking and paddling — common practice not that many years ago. Now its a felony. But the “time out” room is coming under fire. So what is the way to deal with kids who have not learned to deal with the common frustrating situations that adults have to suck up all the time just to get along in society?

  • petecolon

    When they took god out of school they let the demons in with the new Three R’s. Rape > Rob> Ruin. that what going on in our schools today.. Thakyou God hateing librals…

  • Shannon

    Kids didn’t behave like this back when I went to school, even the worst special needs classes did not have screaming spoiled brats that had to be locked up.. Each generation deteriorates just a little more. Best to not have kids if you have to own something like this.

  • Beth

    Time Out Room it should be called. Heck if the parents think the school is
    way off base about the handling out of control kids, then keep the kid
    home and let the parent handle the problem.

  • Nick

    You raise little monsters. Expect them to be locked away like little monsters.

    Can we put these “parents” in scream rooms too? Say in Afghanistan or somewhere similar?

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