Boy, 7, Put in Headlock After Trying to Get Out of School's 'Seclusion Room,' Parents Say and Video Shows

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Disturbing video shows a 7-year-old Illinois boy being ordered to stay inside a so-called seclusion room.

He approaches the school aide several times, trying to get out and each time she pushes him back. At one point, she can be seen pinning his arm against the wall. The boy gave her a kick and then the aide put him into a head lock, video of the incident showed.

Beth Sandy said that her son was severely traumatized by his experiences in the seclusion room.

“For months, I couldn’t hug my son,” she told Inside Edition. “He didn’t want to be touched.”

Like most boys his age, Staley Sandy-Ester has boundless energy, but Staley has been diagnosed with a severe case of ADHD and it's hard for him to sit still and take direction, making school difficult, Beth said.

His parents enrolled him in the Gages Lake School outside Chicago, which offers a tailored education to kids like Staley.

Beth knows her son's ADHD makes him difficult to handle, but she said she had no idea why her son's behavior suddenly changed. He became much more withdrawn and didn't want to go back to school.

“I hate school, but I used to love it,” he said. 

Staley's parents said they didn't know anything about the existence of a seclusion room until she saw this video. His father, Danny, said watching the video was upsetting.

Beth agreed, saying it was hardest to see her son being placed in a headlock. “'He said to me, ‘mommy she put her arm on neck and I couldn’t breathe,’” Beth said. 

Staley is now being home-schooled. Illinois is investigating possible abuse in more than 20,000 cases throughout the state involving students being placed inside seclusion rooms. 

The school superintendent says an internal review showed procedures were "not followed" with the isolation room at Gages Lake School and those videos were given to authorities.


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