Last Updated on August 8, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Title: Denver Public Schools Investigates Use of Seclusion Room at McAuliffe International School
Denver Public Schools (DPS) has launched an investigation into the alleged use of a locked “seclusion room” at McAuliffe International School as a disciplinary measure. The incident has resulted in the interim principal, Micah Klaver, being placed on paid leave pending the investigation. Amid growing concerns from the community, both the Denver Police Department and the Colorado Department of Education have also gotten involved in the matter.
Investigation Prompted by Anonymous Email:
The probe was launched following an email from an anonymous employee, which alleged that students of color were repeatedly locked in the seclusion room. The district has confirmed that at least three students were subjected to this form of discipline.
Expanded Training for Staff:
Superintendent Alex Marrero has announced that DPS will provide training to all staff at McAuliffe International School on policies relating to restraints, physical holds, and seclusion. The aim is to ensure that incidents like this one do not happen again in the future.
Review and Revision of School Protocols:
As a part of its response to the incident, the district will be reviewing and revising all school protocols related to de-escalation rooms, emotional-control rooms, quiet rooms, and time-out rooms. The intention is to establish clear guidelines on the appropriate use of such spaces.
District Claims Unawareness of Seclusion Room:
Despite a work order being filed for repairs to the seclusion room due to student-inflicted damages, the district claims it was unaware of the room’s existence until receiving the anonymous email. This has raised concerns among parents and community members about the district’s lack of oversight.
Controversial Termination of Former Principal:
In a separate development, the former principal of McAuliffe, Kurt Dennis, was fired by the district after speaking out about staff being required to check students for weapons during a television interview. Parents and community members have criticized the district’s decision and called for Dennis’s reinstatement. Dennis’s attorney plans to pursue legal action against DPS, citing a violation of his First Amendment rights.
DPS Defends Position:
DPS officials and board members argue that the room in question was used as a form of “seclusion,” rather than a de-escalation room. Students were allegedly locked in the room alone until they calmed down. The district’s position may come under scrutiny as investigations progress.
Denver Public Schools is taking decisive action to address the use of a seclusion room at McAuliffe International School. With investigations underway and the involvement of law enforcement agencies and education authorities, it is clear that the district is treating the matter with utmost seriousness. The incident has sparked a wider debate around the appropriate use of disciplinary measures, leading to calls for reforms and increased transparency within the Denver Public School system.