The parents of an 8-year-old girl claim she was forced to sit in a tiny cell-like room for hours alone for detention. "They told us she had been crying for hours as if that was the problem. Nobody comforted her" said the girl's mother, Connie Ramstad.
The school called her to say her daughter, Alegra, was in detention and she headed straight to Rock Ridge Elementary. When she arrived she took photos of the conditions in which she found her daughter. The room was a broom closet that the school had retrofitted to act as a cell and was only 2 feet by 4 feet, small enough to give anyone a panic attack after several hours of confinement. Not even the worst jail cells in the world are that confining.
Ramstad said, "I found our girl basically in a jail cell. What they call a detention room. This little room is about 2 feet by 4 feet." The offense that landed Alegra there? She threatened another student, one who Ramstad says has been bullying her daughter for the last year. "‘Why are you being mean to me? Stop being mean to me, or I’m going to tell my mom on you'" Ramstad said as she told her daughter's side of the story. "We don't know how long she's going be traumatized from that. She's been sick for three days."
The family is considering filing a lawsuit and has hired an attorney, "I see a possible deprivation of civil rights. This is not the way to treat a child," he said. "Somebody should’ve been on the phone with mom saying 'look, this is what happened, and this is what we are getting ready to do.'" Bullying has been a big problem for the Ramstad family, Alegra's cousin killed herself a few years ago after being repeatedly bullied. "She took her own life at 13, four years ago," Ramstad said of her cousin. The Rock Ridge Elementary officials released this statement,
"The safety of our students is of the utmost priority. However, because of the student privacy issues involved in this matter, we cannot discuss the specific facts underlying the allegations. We can share that there is a private room in the main office at Rock Ridge Elementary School that is used appropriately for student detention and safety purposes. Photographic images of students in that room are not taken by staff. Additionally, the door to the room remains open at all times when a student is present. Students complete school work and are able to leave the room when needed. Further, parents are notified when their child is being placed in the private room, and are free to pick up their children from school on such occasions.
We are always committed to ensuring a safe learning environment for all students. The school welcomes the opportunity to meet with Rock Ridge families who have additional questions about student discipline policies. Most importantly, we will continue to seek the educational success of every child."
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