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Lawsuit claims Boy with Down syndrome who is non-verbal kept in room the size of closet for bulk of school year



LINCOLN CITY, Oregon — Officials with an Oregon elementary school are accused of confining a 10-year-old boy to a room the size of a closet for the bulk of a school year.

According to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Eugene, the boy is non-verbal and has Down syndrome. He was a fifth grader at Taft Elementary School in Lincoln City during the 2014-2015 school year.

The boys mother, Lynne Mason said her son was having some behavioral issues and had been hitting some of his classmates.

Mason says a teacher did contact her to say the boy would be placed in a “quiet workspace,” but she says she had no idea he was spending his school days isolated in a tiny room.

“It wasn’t until I discovered that that actually looked a lot more like a prison and punishment and he wasn’t allowed to leave it, that I came to understand the truth of what had been going on,” said Mason.

The lawsuit says the boy was secluded as punishment for behavior related to his disability, which is a violation of state and federal law. It also claims the boy was kept in isolation for almost the entirety of the school year, despite the mother’s objections.

Fox 12 reached out to the Lincoln County School District for a response. They said they couldn’t comment on pending litigation, but did send copies of their policy on the restraint and seclusion of students.

It states that seclusion is only permitted when “the student’s behavior poses a threat of imminent, serious physical harm to the student or others.”

In this case, the family’s attorney insists the boy did not pose such a threat.


  • bag

    One more reason why special kids should in a special school. That’s what is better for the special kids and every other child there to get an education.

    • JP

      I have a daughter that is ‘Special Needs’ and these kiddos get singled out enough with their mental / physical challenges that having them in a main stream classroom makes them feel ‘normal.’ Yes all of the children are there to learn but kids do need to learn to interact with all sorts of people. Some other sort of arrangements should have been made for this little boy vs locking him in a small room for the majority of the year…there are so many alternative options!

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