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12-Year-Old Boy's Story

Story reported in Missouri newspaper.


The following are quotes [verbatim] pulled from original article and comments section.

An Iberia mother claims her 12-year-old special needs son was kept alone in a small "containment room" for hours each school day.

"It's just the most horrible room I've ever seen," says Iberia mother Carrie Marlow. "It's like a cage."

This is the room Marlow says her 12-year-old son Cole, who has Down Syndrome and autistic tendencies, was kept. Marlow says school officials told her it was being used as a containment room for Cole when he misbehaved.

just wanted to take a minute and give all those concerned a little information that may help everyone better understand what is happening at Iberia school. First of all, on May 22, 2008 an I.E.P was held at the school in reguards to my sons education as well as behavior. This meeting included the following people: A mediator, chris and carrie marlow, Bonnie Baker of IMPACT (advocate for children with special needs) June Keiser (coles case worker from Dept. of mental health), Cindy Onstott Dir. of Special Education, Amy (coles aide), Mrs. Copus-school counselor, and Coles teacher. My husband and I came to this meeting early with Bonnie Baker of IMPACT so we could introduce bonnie to our son. We went to the nurses office first because cole makes frequent visits due to a certain medical condition. Chris and I walked into the nurses office with bonnie. I asked the nurse where cole was and she didnt answer. The nurse pointed to the door. I noticed the door was locked so I unlocked it and opened the door. My son was lying on the blue cot, lights were off and he was unaccompanied. I will not get too detailed due to the pending investigation, but I will say this. This was witnessed by more than one person. Coles mental health case worker told us that she witnessed many things that concerned her in reguards to this room and my son. During the IEP MEETING I asked Cindy Onstott Dir. of Special Education why my son was in this room, how long had he been in the room, and what was the purpose of this room. Mrs. Onstotts response was The school built this room especially for cole, it is his classroom, he spends the entire school day in this room, and she admitted that cole was receiving only one and a half hours of education per school day. I became very upset and cindys exact words were "well what do you want me to do?" I have documentation of this meeting. Others in attendance do as well. I can back up everything that I have accused the school of with documentation. I have coles IEP forms which stated that cole was receiving 8 hours of education and then only moments later mrs. onstott admits to only one and a half hours per day. I have a stack of documents that backs up all that I have spoke about with the news crews. I have had an Iberia school faculty member to tell me that staff was asked to lie to me and my husband if we came and found cole in "That room" faculty was to tell us that cole was in that room for no longer than an hour when in fact he spent the entire day in there. The faculty member also told me that she witnessed cole in the room unattended, doors closed, and that 20 minutes max was the amt. of time he would receive any education from his teacher. If you want to know the truth you might want to ask the aide at Iberia Elementary that also has a child with Downs Syndrome. She was the one who told me. My husband and i spoke with Mr. Duncan and he told us that it had been reported by faculty members their concern for cole and this room. There is so much more to this story than the community knows. I only wanted to protect my child and make sure that this never happened to any other children in our school (or any school in Mo.) Its kind of hard to get anyone to listen to your concerns and complaints when the Special Ed. Directors Son is head of the school board. There is a huge cover up here. But let me promise the people of Iberia this, when this investigation is over the TRUTH is going to come out. Those involved that have lied and helped cover up the aweful things my child was put through, you should be ashamed! Imagine if you were kept in that room for 8 hours a day with little to no stimuli it is no wonder coles behavior changed. Children that cannot communicate verbally will communicate in other ways. My son has no voice, no way to tell me verbally how it made him feel. "I AM MY SONS VOICE!" that is why I am standing up to say, " Not one more child will ever endure what Cole did, it stops here." I encourage the community to stand with me to protect our children and to pray for all those involved.


District Information:

Assessed Valuation: $31,397,060
Total Enrollment: 773

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