Documented on this blog, some of the problems and ongoing reports on restraint and seclusion of students in America. Elf has been through enough of this, but it happens not only in public schools, but hospitals and other places that are entrusted with the care of people who are disabled or otherwise incapacitated.
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, stuff like this is almost never needed. If we'd make changes in the environment that our disabled and/or autistic children are dealing with, or help train THEM to cope with various situations... you know, actually SPENT MONEY or time on a problem, the need for "safe rooms" would be almost nil. The very fact that there IS a room, I think, means that it's going to be used. If you build it, they will come. They will not only come, but they'll stick a child in there instead of searching for a better way to handle things because you know what? Locking a kid up is easier than negotiating, disciplining, or trying to figure out what is upsetting him. Maybe they should teach that at parenting classes instead of gentle discipline since it works so well for "certificated personnel" at our local schools.
I don't want to come off as totally idealistic on this issue, because if there were zero need for seclusion rooms or restraint, we wouldn't need police officers or jails at any time. But surely we can be reasonable and state that little tiny first graders don't need to be locked into closets by the people who are supposed to be taking care of them. That's what happened to my Elf. Too many times.
Hat tip: Missourians Against Seclusion and Restraint.