Washington school districts adopt changes for new isolation room law

Washington school districts adopt changes for new isolation room law
The former isolation room at Mint Valley Elementary School.

A KATU News investigation into isolation rooms has brought about change to schools in Washington.

Two local school districts - Battle Ground and Evergreen - are adopting changes mandated by a new state law. The local school districts say this won't mean a dramatic change for them because they've been doing most of what the law requires already.

The changes are the result of a KATU News investigation that began in November of 2012 into the use of an isolation room at Mint Valley Elementary school in Longview.

There were allegations that the room was being misused to punish students. Washington lawmakers passed new requirements for how those rooms are used. Parents have to be told about use of the room.

The director who oversees Evergreen's special education programs says this is the first time the district will have a written policy on informing parents.

“Then, also annually or whenever this could be an issue in a student's individualized education plan, we inform them that there's the policy,” said Jey Buno, Evergreen Schools Director of Special Services.

It was reporting from KATU News that helped change the laws in Oregon and Washington regarding student isolation. KATU News originally began looking into the issue because of a news tip from a parent in Washington.