Mustang Parents Say School Locked Special Needs Child In Closet

Friday, September 22nd 2017, 6:42 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

A Mustang family is outraged at the way their 7-year-old son with special needs was disciplined at school.  They say their son was locked away in a closet at Mustang Creek Elementary School because he's disabled.

When 7-year-old Nick Wynne laughs, you just have to laugh along. In most ways he's a normal kid. He's kind of goofy, loves video games and he's a handful.  More so because he has ADHD and is being tested for autism. He's in special needs classes at Mustang Creek Elementary where his parents say they just learned, when he or his classmates are bad they're locked up in a closet.

Nick's smile fades when he talks about that. "Because, because that's when I get in trouble."

Nick’s father,  Billy Wynne said, "Throughout the past three weeks there's 14 times in his little journal that it shows that he's been placed in this - what they call the refocus room. The corner closet in the classroom."

Nick's parents say one day he spent more than two hours in the closet. And they say special needs students are not allowed to have any outside recreational time, although the school is considering letting the kids pick up trash outside. The Wynne’s say kids are not allowed to bring lunch from home unless they've earned the privilege. Nick, they say, has certain food issues.

"So I would say what did you eat instead? ‘Nothing.’ I was like were you ever offered your lunch?  ‘No,'" Nick’s mother Katy Wynne said.

The district released a statement saying: 

“Due to the laws regarding student confidentiality, we cannot provide details regarding a specific child. Any statement that a teacher has locked students in a 'closet' is false. We have one program that was developed to help students with extreme behaviors that does have a de-escalation and refocusing room. At the elementary level either there is no door on these rooms or only a half door is installed. If a half door is installed, there is no lock. It’s a safe, quiet place for a student to regain his or her composure. A faculty or staff member supervises the entire time a student is in the room.

Although we would like to publicly address this particular situation, we cannot. We are glad this father brought his concerns to our attention and we are working to resolve them.”

Nick tells his parents that teachers prop chairs in front of the door so he can’t get out. He's has been pulled from the program, but his parents felt it was important to speak out.

"You know we just need to see it fixed,” Katy Wynne said. "Maybe get rid of the program until you can overhaul it and start again fresh."