Sen. Sodders: They're Not "Seclusion Rooms," They're "Safety Rooms"
by KIX101.1 /1230 KFJB News Department
posted Jan 27 2014 11:12AM
The closure of the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo has caused controversy among many of those involved as well as causing confusion with those in Iowa attempting to understand the situation. Speaking with educators from Marshall County, Senator Steve Sodders wanted to set the record straight from a law enforcement perspective on the problems caused by the use of “Seclusion Rooms.”
“There were claims of misuse of, or abuse, of kids with the use of ‘Seclusion Rooms,’” Sen. Sodders say, “That’s not what the industry calls them; they call them ‘Safety Rooms.’”
He adds the phrase “Seclusion Rooms” was made up.
Despite their bad reputation, these rooms do serve a purpose, according to Sen. Sodders.
“Some of the residents have mental health issues, and you have the child in need of assistance. And when they get violent, you got to be able to do something.”
And it’s being proactive and doing something brings the residents to these safety rooms.
“So you’ve got to restrain them, and you’ve got to put them in the ‘Safety Rooms,’” says Sen. Sodders.
As Sen. Sodders points out, these rooms are for the safety of the individual being restrained as much as it is those around them, as well as the caretakers and guards. Sodders says staff are being beat up, getting broken noses, and other injuries that are not being reported, however, he can say those numbers are “quite extensive.” And he did mention he is attempting to attain those numbers for further reference.
The use of these rooms, as well as other issues at the home, were brought under investigation by Governor Branstad. However, Smith believes everything was blown out of proportion.
“To say you don’t need to use safety rooms and restraints in this situation is asinine, it just is.”
Speaking on the issue further, from a law enforcement perspective, Sodders continues in saying, “With that, this is where I depart from the Disability Rights Iowa. Their philosophy is you shouldn’t have any restraints and no safety rooms.”
And he adds, “This is a population of kids where I think you need to have the ability to restrain, and the ability to put them in a place where they can’t hurt themselves, other students, or the staff.”
According to a statistic brought up by Sen. Sodders, the state of Iowa has about 88 kinds placed in facilities out of state. With each of these placements it costs as much as $75,000 to $250,000. Sodders believes it’s better use of state funds to improve our facilities in state, rather than send our money elsewhere.
Senator Sodders’ personal belief is the Governor closed the home illegally. The Supreme Courts of Iowa is set to hear the case on January 31st.
Representative, and House Minority Leader, Mark Smith says, they also plan on suing Branstad for extending his power beyond the Constitution of Iowa.
--By 1230 KFJB Reporter Katherine Fritcke