Teacher put son in 'bad kid' box, Parkersburg parents say
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. -- The parents of a Parkersburg High School student say a teacher put their son, who has Asperger's syndrome, in a box labeled "bad kid fort" because of his behavior in the classroom.
Beth Dean and Jeff Richards say the social studies teacher humiliated their 15-year-old son.
"Instead of sending him out of the room or any other myriad of options, she fashioned a large cardboard box and placed the box around his seat, completely enclosing him, in front of 30 of his peers," Dean told the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.
Her son, who has self-esteem issues, was left in the box for about 15 minutes, she said.
"This did not help, and destroyed the years of counseling and encouragement we have provided to make sure he has a good self-image," she said.
Her son's individual education plan outlines steps to take when his behavior is disruptive or unmanageable, she said.
"Placed in [a] cardboard box was not one of those steps," she said.
She said school officials downplayed the incident until she received a photograph of the box from another student who saw it in a hallway.
Principal Pam Goots said the incident was not good judgment but that she does not believe the teacher intended to embarrass the student.
"She was attempting to deal with a difficult situation in class," Goots said.
Goots said she is dealing with the incident but declined to provide details, citing personnel issues.
She said teachers need more training to work with autistic students, which she plans to ask the Wood County Board of Education to provide.
"We put teachers in these situations where they have not had a lot of training," she said. "She was doing the best with the skill set she had."
Wood County Assistant Schools Superintendent Sue Woodward said it was an unfortunate chain of events.
"It is not what we send our children to school for and not what we want to happen to our kids, on the parent side or the school side," she said. "I hope the adults will work together to make sure it doesn't happen to another student."
Dean and Richards planned to meet with Goots and Wood County Schools Superintendent Pat Law on Tuesday.
"We want a change in policy," Richards said. "Accountability."