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WI Dept. of Public Instruction investigates Waupun “Quiet Room”

WAUPUN — A FOX6 investigation this week exposed how a school stuck an autistic boy in a “Quiet Room” for refusing to follow directions, and now, that story is getting results.

The story has generated tremendous buzz and was even picked up by the Associated Press, the Fond du Lac Reporter and the Green Bay Press Gazette, to name a few.

Thursday, May 17th, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction sent two staff members to Waupun to conduct an on-site review of their use of the so-called “Quiet Room” at Rock River School.

The room is a five foot by seven foot padded room, built of plywood with a hard, tile floor, no ventilation and a hold-down locking door handle.

The room is only supposed to be used when a student is violent and poses a danger to himself or others, but FOX6’s investigation found that the school recently stuck an autistic boy in the room for over an hour, for refusing to follow directions.

That’s something Disability Rights Wisconsin has been fighting against for years.

“There is no school in this nation that has a bunch of little angels sitting in every single classroom. At the end of the day, we’ll have a better society if we teach all of our kids to behave better and don’t just send those who are problems off into a separate room,” Jeff Spitzer-Resnick with Disability Rights Wisconsin said.

The Waupun School District asked the state to conduct Thursday’s review, but not until after FOX6 was in town, asking questions.

FOX6 spoke with Superintendent Donald Childs Thursday afternoon. He says they will have to make some physical modifications to the room by the start of the next school year, like adding floor covering and ventilation, and removing the locking handle on the door.

Childs says there may also be minor modifications to their procedures for using the room.

A full report from the state’s Department of Public Instruction is expected sometime within the next 60 days.

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