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New Braunfuls ISD put kid in cold room with out bathroom or snack

Posted by on May. 17, 2015 at 12:01 AM
  • 2 Replies
Parents: School’s punishment crossed the line
By David Scott
Published: May 15, 2015, 11:17 pm Updated: May 15, 2015, 11:24 pm
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NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (KXAN) — A mother’s pictures taken inside an elementary school’s “Focus Room” are causing a stir. Lillian Snowden shared the pictures of her 9-year-old son, Alex, because she has a problem with how staff at Carl Shurz Elementary School, in the New Braunfels ISD, reprimanded her child.
Snowden said Alex’s punishment amounted to no food, no exercise and no bathroom breaks, all while he was forced to remain within a drawn circle inside an isolated, cold room.
“Taking any child, putting him in a freezing cold room, if not freezing, cold enough his hands are in his shirt; after 90 minutes we discovered our child huddled in a corner in hysterics,” said Alex’s father, Trevor.
The Snowdens said Alex is hyperactive, but nothing like the discipline problems the school described. Lillian said the school has refused to work with her to come up with a solution.
“I want to be called every single time Alex is brought into the office,” Lillian said. “I can be here in three minutes.”
Instead, she said Alex was placed in the Focus Room dozens of times, something she only discovered this week. It’s an in-school-suspension procedure they believe is cruel and counterproductive.
“It’s demoralizing,” Trevor said. “As an adult, imagine being told to do that.”
The school said it is investigating the allegations, but can say nothing more because of privacy laws. They added providing a safe and caring environment is their top priority.
Lillian insisted she be allowed to stay with Alex in school the rest of the semester, something the district has rejected. She added Alex will not be attending school the rest of the year if she is not allowed to stay with her son.
As for next school year, “He will be home schooled,” Lillian said.
New Braunfels ISD said they use two different types of rooms during certain situations. Focus Rooms deal with “socialization issues” and improving classroom skills. They also use a “Safe Room.” The district said they are used for children who could be a danger to themselves.
While “Focus Rooms” are not prevalent in other districts, other parts of the country use something similar for disruptive students, called a recovery room.



New Braunfels Texas

MAY 13, 2015
A 9 year old boy named Alex was found in tears, confined, and shivering in a small empty room today at Carl Schurz Elementary School. Alex’s mom was taken to this room after being denied five times by the vice principal to accompany her to retrieve Alex. Immediately Alex’s mom pulled out her phone and started taking pictures as the vice principal tried to block her.

Alex was confined to this room for 90 minutes and was told he had to sit in the circle to earn 90 minutes in the classroom. But this wasn't the first time, far from it.

This room contains nothing but a hastily drawn circle in the center, where the child is expected to sit, and a large ball that serves as a seat for an accompanying administrator. The temperature of the room was frigid. Alex's mom was denied reentry into the room to take a photo of the thermostat.

Later that same evening of May 13th 2015, Alex’s parents asked him about this room and his treatment while in the room. What follows is a synopsis of their conversation.

Here are a few questions Alex’s parents asked Alex;

Parents - What is that room Alex?

Alex - It’s called the “focus room”. And it’s where bad children go and serve their in-school suspension (ISS).

Parents – How many times have you been in that room?

Alex – Almost every day, once for two straight days.

Parents – is it always cold?

Alex – Yes! I asked if I could get my jacket and was told no, the teach put her own jacket on and said “It’s sure nice to be warm”.

Parents – Are they mean to you in that room?

Alex – Yes, sometimes they shout at me and say rude things.

Parents – What rude things do they say?

Alex – I don’t know, I don’t want to talk about it.

Parents – What if you get hungry or need to go to the bathroom?

Alex – You’re not allowed! You don’t get your regular snack either!

Parents – Are you allowed to get any exercise?

Alex – No, I’m stuck there all day and if I don’t do what they tell me they make me stay there longer, I have to go back tomorrow since I couldn't sit in the circle because I was too cold…

If you have a son or daughter attending Carl Schurz Elementary I strongly encourage asking your child about the “Focus Room”, go to the school and ask to see it for yourself, insist on it. This is where they're are putting your child when they misbehave, in a freezing room with not so much as a chair, or even a picture on the wall. No snacks, no exercise, confined to a small circle created by a marker. Is that any place for a 9 year old child?

Isolated, cold, confined to a circle drawn on a floor of a featureless room. Think about that for minute. Who else deploys such tactics? And under what circumstances?

This story is far from over and sadly not very unique. We need to raise more awareness to these sorts of abuses and protect our children. Had the mother of this child not insisted aggressively to accompany the retrieval of her child then she would know any different.

What you can do:

Please like and share this post ( with as many people as you can to raise awareness and encourage other parents to look into their own schools disciplinary procedures.

Contact the school:

Carl Schurz Elementary School

Address: 633 W Coll St, New Braunfels, TX 78130

Phone:(830) 627-6680

Contact the New Braunfels ISD:

430 W. Mill Street
New Braunfels, TX 78130
Phone: 830-643-5700

Contact the Texas board of education:

William B. Travis Building
1701 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas, 78701

Main Switchboard:
(512) 463-9734

Main Fax Number:
(512) 463-9838

Know your rights:

Know your rights as well as your childs, there are very clear guidelines and procedures regarding discipline and how "seclusion rooms", "Time out rooms", and other forms of confinement spaces by various names:

Education code Title 2. Public Education Subtitle G. Safe Schools Chapter 37.

Know your inalienable constitutional rights

Contact your local congressman:

New Braunfels, district 73 is Doug Miller

Representative Doug Miller
Capitol Office: CAP GN.10
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0325
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
District Address: 407 W. Mill Street
New Braunfels TX 78130
Phone: (830) 625-1313

This poor child needs help not punishment
by on May. 17, 2015 at 12:01 AM
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Replies (1-2):
by Member on May. 17, 2015 at 12:14 AM
This is about 20 miles from my house. I would be pissed
by Silver Member on May. 17, 2015 at 12:57 AM
Hyperactive is code for the kid is really an undisciplined pain in the ass. Don't get me wrong I believe adhd is real but I would love to hear the teachers side of this story.
However this is over the top and obviously ineffective if they've used it dozens of times and seen no improvement.
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