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Lexington parent: Seclusion rooms are torture, not suitable punishment


LEXINGTON (FOX 25 / – A concerned parent has come forward after he found his young daughter alone inside a filthy closet at a now-defunct Lexington school.

IMAGES: Seclusion rooms are torture, not suitable punishment

FOX 25's Heather Hegedus talked with Ben Lichtenstein, who penned an opinion piece featured in the New York Times over the weekend, about the so-called seclusion rooms being used by teachers at his daughter's former school.

The school system claims they are following state law; however, Lichtenstein told FOX 25 that six years after his daughter was routinely put in the seclusion room, she is still suffering from post -traumatic stress disorder.

"At school, her mother and I found Rose standing alone on the cement floor of a basement mop closet, illuminated by a single light bulb.  There was nothing in the closet for a child - no chair, no books, no crayons, nothing but our daughter standing naked in a pool of urine, trying to cover herself with her hands," Lichtenstein said in the piece.

After this incident, Lichtenstein pulled his daughter out of the Lexington school system; however, for the three months while she was in kindergarten at that school, she was routinely given time-outs and sent to the seclusion room.

Lichtenstein said the school told him his daughter was being disciplined, but school representatives were not upfront about the conditions of the room.  He accuses the school of neglect and assault after his daughter's hand was slammed in the door during one episode.

Three years ago, the Lichtenstein family settled with the school system and won $125,000 for therapy bills; however, Ben Lichtenstein is bring the issue to the forefront once again because he believes the "punishment" is detrimental to a child's well being.

Dr. Paul Ash, the school's superintendent, said in a statement that the "written policy concerning time-outs and our [the school's] policy reflects and has always reflected state law."  Dr. Ash also said that these incidents were not brought to his attention until almost two years after the incident, but did not believe the staff member did anything wrong.

Dr. Ash will be bringing up the issue at a school committee meeting which is open to the public on Tuesday.

IMAGES: Seclusion rooms are torture, not suitable punishment