School Confuses Itself With Prison, Allegedly Locks Kids In Frigid Room Without Food
Managing elementary students isn’t an easy job, but that doesn’t mean you get to just lock the kids up in a secret room and wash your hands of the situation — that is, unless you work at this Texas elementary school. According to My San Antonio, officials are investigating Carl Schurz Elementary in New Braunfels, Texas, after a parent created a viral website called Helping Alex, claiming their son has been repeatedly left in a frigid, empty room for hours at a time.
In a post on the site, creator Trevor Snowden claims his wife found out about the room when she went to pick up their nine-year-old son last week. She noticed he wasn’t in his usual class and allegedly asked five times to accompany the school’s vice principal to retrieve him. Finally she was led to a room where she found him huddled in the corner in tears and immediately pulled out her phone and started taking pictures, despite the vice principal trying to block her.
When his parents questioned him, the boy claimed that the room is called “the focus room” and that he’s been forced to go in there “almost every day, once for two straight days.” He also said he gets left in the room for the duration of the school day, is not allowed to use the bathroom or eat his snack, and that teachers who come into the room shout at him and say mean things. He even said a teacher denied him his jacket when he was cold and then put on her own and remarked how nice it is to be warm.
Since the site went viral, My San Antonio reports District Superintendent Randy Moczygemba has received numerous calls and emails, with some messages threatening enough that he felt the need to post police on the school’s campus. A spokeswoman for the school district issued a statement calling the room a “safe room” that allows for behavior interventions and is used “only when a student is a danger to himself or others.”
While there’s an absolute need for a safe space to counsel students and let them cool off in extreme behavioral situations, the alleged conditions of this particular space are appalling and extreme. Regardless of whatever behavioral problems these kids might exhibit, there’s no reason to treat them like criminals and hold them without food or bathroom access for hours at a time. The kid is either exaggerating or the school is seriously crossing the line, but either way an investigation is definitely warranted.