BDS officials address “extended timeout rooms” after alleged incident with employee

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - You may remember, a Bay District School teacher was arrested Wednesday.

Joshua Bassett, 41, is an employee with Bay District Schools. He’s charged with aggravated child abuse after allegedly breaking a four-year-old’s arm. The alleged incident happened in what they are calling an extended timeout area. Panama City Police said the child wasn’t following Bassett’s direction. That’s when officials said he allegedly pulled the child off the floor by their arm. The child’s arm was broken in the incident.

NewsChannel 7 asked district officials for more information on where it happened, but they wouldn’t release any more details Thursday.

Now, the alleged incident might have some wondering what an “extended time out” area is.

“It’s not extended timeout, exclusionary timeout is a moment in time. It’s not an all day event, it’s for as long as the student needs,” Exceptional Student Education Instructional Specialist Kathy Ostrenga said.

Exclusionary timeout is for students with disabilities who have an Individual Education Plan and parent permission for this strategy. In these IEP’s, it explicitly states their positive intervention plans that identify triggers and other stimulations.

These areas are for students to get away from a situation or environment that may be stimulating them.

“It may be that a student, a teacher is able to recognize that a student is starting to have some difficulty and may suggest that a team come in and try to suggest that a team come in and try to assist the situation,” said Ostrenga.

Assisting by providing a safe environment for students.

“Where a student can go and sit down quietly, or it may be engaged with the team to try and talk through and work through some de-escalation techniques in order to help the student reintegrate back into a classroom,” said Ostrenga.

District officials weren’t able to show us an exclusionary timeout area on Thursday, but they said they’re considered areas within a school rather than just a room.

“Sometimes they have little partitions where a student can if they want to further isolate themselves, they can go and sit quietly. but there’s nothing particularly unique about the room other than they’re free of a lot of the distractions that you would see in a classroom,” said Ostrenga.

Distractions district officials hope to avoid, so every student can have the best learning experience.

Ostrenga said parents give consent for their children to use exclusionary time outs. She adds the program is not specific to Bay District Schools and districts around the state utilize this method.

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