A Washington middle school is in the hot seat after deciding to isolate an 11-year-old autistic boy in a school bathroom so he could have a “quiet space” to learn.
What We Know:
- The young boy’s mother, Danielle Goodwin, informed Whatcom Middle School of her son’s learning needs. As a mother who knows her son best, Goodwin made the school aware that her son who is autistic displays better work ethic in quiet environments. While the average person might think the library is the perfect place to work quietly, the school thought otherwise.
- The teacher decided that the best way to accommodate Lucas’ disability was to create a workspace in the bathroom. They placed his desk directly over the toilet and provided him with an extra chair in front of the sink. In addition to this, a mat was placed on the floor as a nap area.
- Although, the school staff stated that the area is not an operating bathroom the whole idea is still upsetting to Goodwin and her son who experienced anxiety and nausea from the closed space.
- Danielle shared her frustration in a Facebook post where she wrote, “my son was humiliated, embarrassed, and disgusted at this inhumane suggestion that he work in a bathroom.” Goodwin was in such disbelief that she also captured a photo of her son’s “quiet space,” which she also shared in the post.
- Shockingly, the school is standing behind their decision to place Lucas in a bathroom. The school superintendent Greg Baker defended their choice because of the school’s lack of finances. “The school did not have the funding to supply Lucas with quiet area to learn,” he said.
- Lucas’ mother has hired an attorney and is pursing a lawsuit against Whatcom Middle School.
Although the school may have thought their idea was a good gesture, they humiliated a child in the process. The middle school should consider realistic accommodations for children with special needs that allow them to feel inclusive with other students.