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 into allegations made in an .

In the OpEd, former Lexington resident Bill Lichtenstein wrote of his daughter’s experiences as a kindergartner enrolled at the 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.”

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fitzroy September 16, 2012 at 03:32 AM
. . . anyone have any answers? Any experts out there?
Helpful September 16, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Fitzroy: The resource guide mentioned in Lichenstein's article is very helpful. I have used it. It was just developed by the US Department of Education. You can download it here: http://www.aapd.com/resources/publications/doe-seclusion-restraint.pdf Also, there were just Senate hearings on all of the approaches that work OTHER than tying kids up or locking them in closets. They had lots of examples. You can see that here and there's even video of the testimony: http://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=28ddbd0d-5056-9502-5dea-7197eb6434c8 Does that help?
LexMom September 17, 2012 at 02:34 AM
My son just sent me this... http://terrifyingdiscipline.weebly.com/serious-child-abuse-petty-concerns---bill-lichtenstein-91612.html "Serious Child Abuse, Petty Concerns" by Bill Lichtenstein Response to "Lexington Accusations Answered" Boston Globe 9/16/2012
LexMom September 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM
"The isolation room that the Lexington (MA) Public Schools crisis manager just told the Boston Globe was not a closet, but a room "used by teachers for one-on-one instruction." Bill Lichtenstein's reesponse at http://terrifyingdiscipline.weebly.com/serious-child-abuse-petty-concerns---bill-lichtenstein-91612.html
Alan Seferian September 17, 2012 at 02:12 PM
The worst thing you can do in a crisis is to appear arrogant and dismissive, even if you sincerely believe the charges to be false. Containing the damage is the primary goal of crisis management. The facts will eventually come out. Lexington keeps making the mistake of raising the stakes with Mr. Lichtenstein, even after hiring a professional PR person. Her initial response was as bad as the Superintendent's was. A little humility goes a long way.


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