A study conducted by Dallas, Texas’ NBC 5 has revealed that multiple schools in Texas use so-called “calm rooms” to discipline students, many of whom have mental or developmental disabilities.
According to the report, school officers punish misbehaving students by locking them in small, closet-sized rooms for hours. There are many names for this punishment, including “detention in the Room of Silence” and “blue room punishment,” and “going into a room of hell.”
In Los Angeles, local students interviewed by JSR voiced their disagreement with the procedure.
“Confining students in a small room would be especially detrimental to their mental health,” Judy Kim, a junior at Crescenta Valley High School (CVHS), said.
“Some adults may think locking students in a room isn’t a barbarous way of punishing at all,” she continued, “but young students may link their firsthand experiences with fear of adults and eventually decide ‘teacher’ is a cruel job to have.”
According to the NBC 5 report, students have experienced emotional traumas or other types of mental disorder after being locked in this Room of Silence.
“No one should have to go through such an inhumane trauma as this,” CVHS junior Yoonhye Kim told JSR.
“One will not have enough room to sit down and will have to stand during the entire hour, dreading the slowness of the clock and fearing the darkness that keeps her company,” Kim said. “How can this be a just way to teach students morals when this punishment itself can be classified as torture?”
This type of punishment is only one example of the types of indirect child abuse that can occur in the school environment. According to the Child Abuse Data provided by Safe Horizon in 2013, about 679,000 children were the victims of indirect child abuse and 56.7 percent of them were abused by their school teachers or other adults related to school community.