New Developments in LPS Seclusion Room Saga
Another family has come forward alleging a special needs student was left alone in time out rooms; DA’s office confirms involvement.
A third Lexington family has come forward and asked that their case be included in a state investigation into the alleged mistreatment of special needs students within the Lexington Public Schools.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office on Thursday confirmed the office was looking into a complaint associated with the seclusion room allegations, but could not comment about the specifics or who filed it.
That confirmation came a day after Lexington Superintendent Paul Ash said the district filed a 51A with the state’s Department of Children and Families following public calls for an independent investigation into allegations made in an opinion piece published last weekend in the New York Times.
In the OpEd, former Lexington resident Bill Lichtenstein wrote of his daughter’s experiences as a kindergartner enrolled at the Fiske Elementary School during the 2005-2006 school year, when the school was temporarily housed in the old Harrington School during construction.
According to Lichtenstein, his then 5-year-old daughter was “kept in a seclusion room for up to an hour at a time over the course of three months, until we discovered what was happening.”
As the district began to respond to those allegations, a second parent stepped forward at a School Committee meeting and shared her son’s story of being left inside a “quiet room” in 2008.
About the same time, a third family was sharing its story with WBZ and viewers of the 11 p.m. news.
Now, that family has asked that their case be included in the review by a state oversight agency.
Initially, the DCF filing was to look into the Lichtenstein allegations and the case mentioned at the Sept. 11 School Committee meeting. However, Ash has said the door was left open to expand the scope of the state investigation to include other cases.
“Their names were submitted to DCF in yesterday's 51A filing regarding another student to alert them there may be other cases,” Ash wrote in an email to Patch. “We told DCF we are in the process of reviewing the material received, which may invoke our obligation as mandated reporters.”