I recently stumbled across a facebook post with a link to a news story, with the headline “Teachers sounding the Alarm Over ‘Room Clear’ Method.” I will not repost the news clip, but if it pops up on your newsfeed, I suggest you take a moment and read the comments.
The news story was talking about a “room clear” procedure, which occurs when a student has a meltdown or loses control in class. The room is cleared and the rest of the class is removed while the student in crisis is isolated.
This is done for safety and as an option of last resort.
The comments in this post are filled with parents outraged that their child’s safety is at risk because one of “those kids” are in their child’s class. The comments are filled with sympathy for the teachers who have to endure this kind of abuse and the fear that the welfare of the other 29 kids in the class is being neglected.
These brave, not anonymous, commenters are so quick to out themselves to a world that is ready to call them on their bullshit.
And you should be ashamed of yourself.
You see when a kid is having a meltdown that requires a room to be cleared, it should be treated like a medical emergency.
If a child in your kid’s class had a seizure and the room needed to be cleared so that medical professionals could come in and help, would you also be lamenting on the trauma that this kind of disruption might have caused?
Or would you be able to muster up an ounce of empathy and maybe explain to your kid how scary it must have been for their friend to have a medical emergency at school. How they should be kind to this friend and let them know that they were worried about them and hope that they feel better soon.
I will not go into detail about what causes “room clearing” behavior or how the schools should help teachers identify and avoid the antecedents of a student’s meltdown.
I will say that the most traumatized person during a room clearing event, is the child the room is being cleared for.
When a, not anonymous, commenter mentions how “those kids” should not be educated in the same class, how “those kids” should be in a special class, a special school even, away from the 29 other “regular” kids, I am reminded that not that long ago, the same sentiment was used to justify the segregation of students based on race.
The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice. Also, the internet is forever.
I read the comments ladies, and I take screenshots.
Robin Weckerly is a mom, a wife, a writer, a member of the PTA and Chairperson of the Special Education Community Advisory Committee in Long Beach, CA.