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Imagine that you found out your child had been placed in a seclusion room in school for punishment. What would be your reaction?

This very thing happened to one little boy, and his parents filed a lawsuit. Cecilia and Kevin Wilson’s son, Ryleigh, was put into a dark closet and they found out about it when another parent posted on Facebook. Ryleigh was in first grade when this happened.

School administrators at Mint Valley Elementary in Longview, Washington say they often ask parents to take children home if there is a behavior problem. During one such incident, the Wilsons were called to pick up Ryleigh.

They say that upon arriving at the school, the young boy was being restrained by the principal while hyperventilating and crying. He is now apparently afraid to return to school and is afraid to be left alone.

A Washington state law allows for special education students to be placed in seclusion with the parents’ permission, if needed. Ryleigh was not a special education student. The Wilsons and four other families were not even aware of such a room until the Facebook posts. The families decided to sue the school district.

The “isolation booth” was a closet-size, windowless room with padded walls. Parents were understandably horrified when they found out.

In spite of this, they lost their lawsuit. Apparently, this type of loss is not that uncommon.

While isolation of juveniles is forbidden in federally funded mental health facilities, no similar provisions exists for schools. There are few state laws regarding isolation, and they are very spotty as to what they cover.

As it turns out, little Ryleigh was placed in this dark closet for leaving his seat without permission. He was later diagnosed with ADHD, and according to his parents, he now suffers with symptoms of post traumatic distress.

What would you do if this happened to your child?

If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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