Thanks to Darrel Lucas for the video.
The Superintendent of Schools, Michael Frechette, announced at a press conference in District Headquarters that the Farm Hill rooms used to provide students with a time out will no longer be used for this purpose. He said, "A new suite area on the second floor of the building will be modified for use as a safe area by [these] students ... if necessary for their safety and the safety of other students and staff."
This occurs one week after he received a copy of a letter sent by Farm Hill PTA president Apryl Dudley to Mayor Dan Drew, protesting the use of rooms which she said children and parents referred to as "Scream Rooms".
Frechette further said that there would be no further use of time-out rooms for students who do not have a specialized learning plan, "I wanted to make clear that I have directed all administrative staff in the District to cease, immediately, using time out rooms for students who do not have specialized, legally created ... plans."
These "legally created" plans follow either the Americans With Disabilities Act (504 plans) or the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which mandates individualized education plans (IEP) for students with very specific mental or physical disabilities. See HERE for a brief discussion of 504 and IEP.
The press conference was short and seemed forced. Board of Education Chair Gene Nocera told the assembled media there would be no questions, and after being introduced, Frechette tersely read a 164 word statement.
After the conference, I asked Frechette to give his perspective on why so many parents were upset about the situation at Farm Hill. He declined, saying this was all discussed at the Farm Hill meeting last night.
April Dudley, the Farm Hill PTA president, was deluged with cameras after the meeting. She said that the changes proposed by the administration were good ones, calling it a win-win solution for everybody, "I think we need to move on."
Dudley also said that the concerns of the parents were not about the teachers, "We thank the teachers at our school for doing an outstanding job with our children despite the issues going on."