NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The city’s Department of Education has agreed to end the practice of sending students with emotional issues to the emergency room.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Rhonda Thurston’s 5-year-old son, a kindergartner at P.S. 86 in Jamaica, Queens, was sent to the E.R. on three different occasions.

“They just were saying that he was just disruptive, and as soon as he gets into the ambulance, there’s nothing wrong with him,” Thurston said.

Several parents sued the Department of Education to stop the practice. Most of the plaintiffs have children under the age of 8. One young student refused to sit on a rug. Another would not take his Halloween mask off.

“He went from trusting his teachers to resenting them,” one Bronx mother said. “They don’t want to deal with the tantrums .”

Added Tara Foster, an attorney representing the plaintiffs: “I think that sometimes staff becomes overwhelmed and they’re not really sure what to do. I’m not saying that it’s always the worst motivation.”

The Department of Education has agreed to train staff on ways to deal with disruptive behavior in the classroom and to expand the role of crisis intervention in the schools.

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