Clearwater parents concerned over how school handles behavior issues, including new 'reset room'
CLEARWATER, Kan. (KAKE) - Parents packed the Clearwater Community Center Thursday night, all concerned about the same thing – how the schools handle behavior issues.
At the center of attention was the elementary school's new 'reset room.'
"The way that it is being utilized here in Clearwater is not appropriate," said parent Kristin Baxter.
With a child of her own who needs extra behavioral attention, Baxter says it's all about how the district is using the room.
So we decided to check it out.
Clearwater Elementary Principal April Lutz gave us a tour of the reset room and explained how it works.
"If kids need to come to visit the reset room just to self-regulate, when they come in, there are choices up here. And these choices change just based on the staff that is in here or what materials we have," said Lutz.
Lutz says a worker trained in child behavior is in the room the whole time. However, since each student is different, each case is handled differently.
"If they choose a trampoline, we have this section marked off here," said Lutz while showing us around each section. "Each of our desks have some breathing tools just to help kids just have those tools to self-regulate... This is a puzzle area, and we do have spaces taped down, this is your space, you don't have to worry about kids coming into your space... And this is one of my favorites, the yoga ball and all the different options you can use... And then this area is really just, when some kids come in, they just want to be left alone. So you can come around and peek. We will have bean bags, things like that back here."
Lutz says no matter what, the room only has one purpose.
"It's not disciplinary. When kids come in here, it's because they weren't able to self-regulate. And so, we want all of our kids to be successful when they leave us, whether it's outside of school or in school. And so our goal is to help them develop those skills," said Lutz.
Superintendent Chris Cooper says rooms like this are nothing new.
"We're part of a special education cooperative out of Goddard. And they have specialists that can come out and give us advice," said Cooper.
Baxter says more than anything, parents just want better communication. She says she feels like the district isn't being transparent about its guidelines on handling behavioral problems.
"If the guidelines are there, and the expectations are there, and the reset room is something that's safe, and the community agrees with and it's being utilized appropriately, then I think we'll be fine," said Baxter.
Cooper says after some fine-tuning with the help of experts, the reset room is working. He says the school's disruption rate is way down from 91 in November to less than five for the whole month of January.