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Ohio Legal Rights Service Drops Lawsuit Against Columbus City Schools

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Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Joe Gratz / Flickr

A state agency that advocates for the rights of disabled people has dropped its lawsuit against the Columbus school district in connection with the use of seclusion rooms. Seclusion rooms are small, often padded rooms where violent or aggressive students can be taken to calm down.

In a suit filed in March in federal court, the Ohio Legal Rights Service sought to obtain records showing how the rooms are used.

Agency spokesperson Kim McConnell said the agency asked the judge to dismiss the suit because the school district provided the requested documents. The judge dismissed the suite yesterday. However, the agency is continuing to investigate the use of seclusion rooms, she said.

The school district has denied accusations that it fails to properly oversee the use of those rooms.

In its lawsuit, the Ohio Legal Rights Service says it has initiated a “district-wide investigation of abuse, neglect and/or significant rights violation” in Columbus, Ohio’s largest school district.

The investigation came about after the mother of an autistic student contacted the agency about her son being placed seclusion room — which she called a “closet” — more than once, according to the lawsuit. The mother said that her son, who is autistic, “had urinated in the room, was lying on the floor, and contracted a staph infection,” according to the lawsuit.

Read more here.

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