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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 21, 2017

Iowa City schools to discontinue ‘seclusion rooms’

Nov 08, 2017

IOWA CITY (The Gazette) — The contentious use of student “seclusion rooms” in the Iowa City school district seems to be coming to an end.

In an email sent Tuesday night to parents, Superintendent Stephen Murley said the district has taken down seven seclusion rooms so far and would remove them all by the start of the next school year.

While such rooms — which are used in many other Iowa districts also — are intended to temporarily isolate aggravated students from harming others or themselves, a Gazette investigation also found instances where the rooms were used simply to punish bad behavior.

Murley wrote that the district “is committed to discontinuing the use of temporary seclusion rooms (sometimes referred to in the general public as ‘isolation boxes’)” by fall 2018.

The message indicates the district intends to go farther than a task force recommendation in June to keep the rooms where necessary, but to make their use less frequent.

Murley said the district would provide updates as progress is made, including “working with parents, students, and staff.”

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