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Mother: Washington Heights School's Use Of Padded Room Abusive

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Manhattan mother says her 5-year-old son was put in a padded room at school, leaving the kindergartner so traumatized he had to go to the hospital.

Taneka Hall said the "safe-calm room" at KIPP Star Elementary School in Washington Heights is used while children are placed in "time-out." But as CBS 2's John Slattery reported, she believes the discipline is abusive.

On Dec. 3, Hall's son, Xavier, who has had behavioral problems, was put in the room -- which is padded with a window in the door. The charter school would not provide CBS 2 with a photo of the room.

Hall said Xavier was in the room alone and grew more agitated.

"So they put him in the safe room, and there  in the safe room, he then peed on himself and didn't allow any teachers to come inside, so they decided to call 911," she said.

KIPP Star Elementary School in Washington Heights.

Xavier was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital to be examined. The mother said the padded room, which he'd been in before, frightened him.

"It's a padded room," she said. "So I just feel like it makes him look a little crazy, like a psychiatric hospital or something."

KIPP NYC Superintendent Josh Zoia said Xavier was not in the room alone and that his mother saw the room before singing a form authorizing that the boy be placed in the room when necessary.

Xavier has since switched schools.

"He's happy ... happier than he was before," she said.

School officials say they are reviewing the use of the room. The New York State Education Department says "time-out" rooms are OK for students to safely de-escalate, regain control and prepare to return to the classroom.

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