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Family Outraged After Boy With Special Needs Sent Home From School in a Diaper

On February 16 a young student was allegedly sent home on the bus from Mint Valley Elementary school in Longview, Washington, without pants on. The child, who has a learning disability and isn’t being named currently, got home wearing just a backpack, shirt and diaper after he soiled himself at school, KOIN 6 News reported.

Sandy Catt, Longview School District spokeswoman, says the policy for situations like these is not to send children home in diapers without pants on.

“Typical protocol would be that the child would be cleaned up and outfitted with some sort of unisex loaner sweats or something like that,” Catt told KOIN 6 News. “That protocol was not followed, and from a district level we have investigated that.”

Photo of the boy wearing a diaper

The district allegedly communicated with the family about the incident but to what extent is still unclear and the entire situation is under investigation by the school district.

The same school previously made headlines in 2012 for using a padded isolation box in special needs classrooms, The Daily News reported. It was used for four years at Mint Valley as a place for special needs children to de-escalate without harming themselves or others and as a voluntary refuge for children with autism to calm themselves after too much sensory stimulation. It was removed after parents expressed concerns over whether or not the isolation box was being used as a means of punishment and it was eventually removed.

Despite this history, Catt said she doesn’t think Mint Valley staff have any deficiencies when working with special needs children.

“I believe the staff at Mint Valley are very compassionate and have availed themselves to a number of trainings,” Catt told The Daily News. “There have been numerous conversations at the school … and working with the family through that has been important today,” she said.

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The Mighty reached out to the Longview School District for comment but have yet to hear back.