The Board of Education previously notified the community that the New York State Education Department’s Office of Special Education Quality Assurance (“SEQA”) conducted an investigation into the District’s use of a de-escalation room this past Spring 2022. Consistent with the District’s own external investigation, SEQA determined only that the District had not developed or implemented policies or written procedures regarding the use of a time out room for students with disabilities. SEQA provided the District with a Compliance Assurance Plan in May 2022. The District submitted documentation to SEQA satisfying each of the action items noted in the plan and made its final submission on July 1, 2022. On August 4, 2022, the District received confirmation from the New York State Education Department that the District fulfilled the requirements of the Compliance Assurance Plan originally issued in May. The Department also confirmed that no further action was required by the District. As part of the Compliance Assurance Plan, the Board of Education adopted a new policy at its June 23, 2022 meeting, Policy Number 7619: Use of Time Out Rooms, and provided employees with training and guidance on time out rooms, limitations and prohibitions, and data collection requirements. At this time, the District has not established a time out room in any of its buildings.
The Board established a Sensory Room Committee and explored options and funding for sensory rooms. Approximately twenty committee members included teachers, support staff, administrators, Board members, community members, and parents from pre-k to high school, made recommendations regarding future implementation of sensory rooms for the elementary and middle/high schools. The Committee met on four occasions and presented recommendations to the Board of Education on July 7, 2022. The Committee specifically recommended that a full room be dedicated as a sensory room in the elementary school and that another room be shared at the middle/high levels. The District has designed sensory rooms to support six specific areas as follows:
- visual stimulation/de-stimulation
- auditory stimulation/de-stimulation
- tactile stimulation/de-stimulation
- proprioceptive stimulation
- vestibular stimulation
- understanding and processing self-regulation
The Committee also recommended that a time out room be available as needed for student programming needs. The District is currently in the process of establishing a time out room in accordance with District Policy 7619. Once the room is established, parents will be provided an opportunity to view the room being utilized as a time out room. The Board of Education is grateful for the Committee’s work and recommendations. These efforts will further support our students’ needs and programming within the District.