SILVER CREEK — An investigation into an alleged “isolation cell” at Silver Creek Elementary School shows no evidence that a student was hit, bullied, or assaulted in any way.
This according to Melanie Beardsley, who briefed the school board Thursday evening on her findings and recommendations regarding the de-escalation room issue. Additionally, Beardsley of the law firm Webster Szanyi LLC, noted that the district does not have a board policy or other written policies or procedures detailing the use of the room and must develop and implement policies and procedures. procedures, which include physical and supervision requirements, parental rights, and educational requirements for students with disabilities if using a time-out room.
The district announced the results on its Facebook page Friday morning.
Board chairman Stephen Boothe agreed with Beardsley’s findings. “As a result of this investigation, it is clear to us that some of our children absolutely need a safe space to defuse, calm down and, with the help of administrators and staff, prepare for a return to life. class safely, he said. “We have an obligation to every child in the district to do everything we can to give all of our students access to the best education possible. From the survey, it is clear to us that de-escalation or sensory rooms, and perhaps both, can serve as vital tools in this regard. As a board, we recognize that no matter what, we must develop and implement policies and procedures regarding these rooms. It will be a priority. In the meantime, the use of the room remains suspended.
This room first became an issue in late March when District Administrator Jay Hall sent a four-page letter to the school board outlining the allegations about the space in late March. He has since been placed on administrative leave. Additionally, the district noted, Hall was refusing to meet with investigators to discuss the allegations.
Beardsley said 34 people had been contacted for interviews, including the parents and guardians of each student named in the letter. A total of 28 people spoke to the law firm about the matter, and more than 215 documents were analyzed in the process, along with several videos.
“All district administrators, teachers, and staff cooperated fully with the investigation,” Beardsley said. “Some parents and community members have done it too.
“In contrast, Jay Hall and his brother, Rich Hall, refused to cooperate with the investigation. As for Jay Hall, on several occasions we have requested that he meet with us, and we have offered various accommodations to encourage him to participate. We have also asked him to provide us with all the information and documents he has regarding his claims. He refused.”
Beardsley said Rich Hall, himself an attorney, is representing four families who are filing suits against the district. After learning that these families were represented by an attorney, Beardsley said he requested interviews and information, but Rich Hall refused to allow them to cooperate.
Boothe admitted there is still a lot of work to move the district forward. “At this stage, the investigation is over; our job is not, “ he said. “The Council’s work has just begun. With the help of our community, our amazing team of teachers, administrators and staff, we will continue to be a school district we can all be proud of.
According to Beardsley’s findings, part of that work for the council will be writing policies and procedures outlining the uses of the de-escalation room. These policies should at a minimum include prohibiting placing a student in a locked room or space or in a room where the student cannot be continuously observed and supervised; factors that may precipitate the use of the time-out room; time limits for use of the time-out room; training staff on policies and procedures related to the use of time-out rooms; collecting data to monitor the effectiveness of the use of time-out rooms; and information to be provided to parents.
“The district shall develop and implement policies and procedures, which include physical and supervision requirements, parental rights, and (Individual Education Plan) requirements for students with disabilities if it uses a time-out room », she says.
Boothe addressed this in his statement, saying that they will work with their attorneys to match these policies, and that they want the community to have input on things to come. Boothe added a statement of gratitude for the concern within the district.
“The council plans to invite the community to participate in this process and will ask for volunteers to sit on a committee to study this issue and make recommendations to the council,” he said. “Before opening a room for use, we are considering an open day where parents can see all the rooms in their child’s school. Parents are always welcome at Silver Creek Schools.