As of Sept. 1, Oregon’s legislation alleges that it will be illegal for a school in Oregon to have a seclusion cell aka room on campus, but one Portland school is says the rule doesn’t apply to them and is adding an isolation room.

The room has been put in at Cherry Park Elementary School in Southeast Portland just in time for this school year. And since the school is classifying the seclusion area as a room, not a cell, the school is free to use the space as it sees fit.

Rep. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, sponsored the new legislation. By phone Thursday night, she said despite her legislation, schools are adding new isolation rooms, like the one at Cherry Park Elementary.

Interesting that representative Gelser only asks one side of the question namely “How many injuries of staff and students were reported related to the use of seclusion and restraint?” There is another side to the issue, which is how many injuries to staff and students occurred because staff and educators did not intervene or staff were not adequately trained to manage the situation due to the restrictive regulations on maintaining a safe and effective learning environment that limits a teacher’s ability to protect self and student from harm in ways that are perfectly reasonable and used by ordinary citizens.

Maybe Rep. Gelser should concern herself more with the fact that none of the six districts — Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham-Barlow, North Clackamas and Reynolds — in the Portland Metro area met the target of 65 percent or more of its special education students graduating from high school in four years with a regular diploma.

Portland fell well below the target a with a 29 percent graduation rate.

Tigard-Tualatin still uses seclusion as does, KATU learned Pioneer School, and it plans to keep it even though Gelser specifically wrote the bill so it would apply to Pioneer.

Portland Public Schools said it isn’t sure the law applies to them.

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