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Francis Howell: Letter to Parents

Missouri, February 26, 2009

Dear Parent/Guardians:

Many of you may have seen the recent coverage about seclusion or timeout rooms in schools. I realize that most parents would have no experience with the use of a timeout room so I wanted to provide you with some additional information regarding timeout rooms in the Francis Howell School District.

A timeout room is used on rare occasions when a student with a disability is a danger to himself/herself or others. It is used as a last resort and is never used as a form of punishment. Timeout rooms are only for students who have specific needs included in their Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) or Individual Education Program (IEP). These plans are written by a team that includes the student’s parents and teachers. If your child does not have the use of a timeout room in a plan that you helped write, your child would never use a timeout room.

Before using the timeout room, educators are expected to use other techniques to calm a disruptive student. Techniques vary by student but could include using the following before a timeout room is used:

·Ignoring negative behavior

·Talking with a student to calm him or her

·Letting the student get a drink of water or to go for a short walk with a paraprofessional

·Redirecting the student to another activity

·Removal of reinforcing stimulus conditions by allowing the student to go to a different environment for a few minutes

·Time to rethink his or her behavior

·Exclusion from the classroom activity

Additionally, any professional working with a student with an IEP, that includes timeout as part of the behavior plan, has received training in Crisis Prevention Intervention.

Timeout rooms in FHSD are properly lighted and ventilated, free of fixtures with which students could harm themselves, contain a shatter proof window in the door so students can be monitored, do not have locks, and include padding to protect the student from injuring themselves. The school logs the name of every student placed in the timeout room and length of time spent in the room. While the student is in the timeout room, a staff member makes a note on the log every 3-5 minutes about how the student is responding to the timeout. When a student is placed in the timeout room the parents are also notified.

Francis Howell's timeout room procedures have been reviewed by the Children's Division of the State Department of Social Services.

The District believes that it is important to keep all kids safe and to follow individualized plans to meet the needs of students with disabilities. I hope this information is helpful. If you would like more information, please call 636-851-4060.


Dr. Renée Schuster


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