NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – New Braunfels ISD responded Friday to a complaint from parents of a student at Carl Schurz Elementary School being in a "FOCUS room."
A website, called "The 'Focus Room' Horror" and dated May 13, shows photos of a visibly upset boy sitting on the floor of a room. The website writes that the boy is a 9-year-old student named Alex and states that he was confined to the room for more than an hour.
According to the website, Alex was told to sit in a circle drawn on the floor for 90 minutes "to earn 90 minutes in the classroom."
The website's author wrote a synopsis of Alex's conversation with his parents that evening. The site states Alex's mother was taken to that room after she was "denied five times by the vice principle [sic]." Alex reportedly told his parents the room is called the "focus room," and it's "where bad children go and serve their in-school suspension." According to the website, Alex told his parents he has been confined to the room nearly every day, that it's very cold and that "sometimes they shout at me and say rude things." Alex reportedly said students are not allowed to go to the bathroom, have snacks or get exercise.
The district sent a letter to parents at the school clarifying the district's punishment procedures.
"You may hear the term 'FOCUS Room' or 'Safe Room.' These are two different environments. A 'FOCUS Room' is a classroom environment that allows for behavior intervention such as social skills and counseling. A 'Safe Room' is used in times when a child is a danger to himself/herself or others," said the letter.
New Braunfels ISD said it is not sure who created the website. A NBISD spokesperson said FOCUS rooms or safe rooms are in many schools, used as a safe place during emotional outbursts or as a "timeout."