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Letters to the Editors

Locked time-out rooms are a rarely used safety measure


© St. Petersburg Times
published March 2, 2003

Editor: I cannot remain silent about the issue of locked "time-out rooms" at Deltona Elementary School in Spring Hill.

As a former teacher's assistant for the SED (Severely Emotionally Disturbed) classes at Deltona Elementary, I would like to say that those specific time-out rooms were only used to protect students from harm they may cause themselves or other students. These students do not handle stress well and when something triggers an inappropriate reaction, they kick, scratch, bite and try to inflict injury any way possible. These rooms are not about abuse, but rather removing an out-of-control child to a safe environment until the child is able to cool down and respond in an appropriate manner.

The school staff that works with these children is required to take several hours of intensive training in how to handle these situations. Only when the normal intervention does not work and a risk is posed to the student who is acting out or to others in the classroom are the locked time-out rooms used. The school staff at Deltona puts all students' safety first and genuinely care about the emotional and physical health of each student.

I would still be working there if not for the birth of my son. When he is old enough to start school, I hope he will be zoned to attend Deltona Elementary. My daughter started in the pre-K program and graduated with honors from fifth grade after spending all of her elementary school years at Deltona Elementary.

Before you judge the school or its employees about a locked time-out room, please take the time to research the reasons it is being used and ask yourself if you would want your son or daughter exposed to an out-of-control student who may bite, hit, scratch, kick or stab your child with anything sharp (pencils, pens or rulers)?

The students are not "bad." They just don't have the necessary skills to cope with the normal disappointments and let-downs of daily living and sometimes they have not received their recommended medication. A positive approach is always tried first. The locked time-out room is only rarely used and perhaps one day will never have to be used at all.

As a parent and former employee, I am glad we have that particular room available when needed.
-- Debra D. Cowper, Spring Hill

Tax dollars should be used to pay for recycling in Spring Hill

Editor: I have read in your paper that an approximate $2-per-month charge per household is being considered for curbside recycling.

Our tax dollars should not be considered for any charities by our commissioners. Instead, that money should be used to pay for all recycling in every ZIP code in Spring Hill.
-- Kathleen Seyfried, Spring Hill

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The Hernando Times welcomes letters from readers for publication.

Because of space limitations, letters should be of reasonable length.

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

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Send your letter to Hernando Times, 15365 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville, FL 34613. To fax a letter call 754-6133. Send letters by e-mail (in text-only format) to hernando@sptimes.com.

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