A Massachusetts public school serving 150 kindergartners is under fire for its alleged treatment of students.
A report from the Disability Law Center criticized the Crowell Kindergarten Center in Haverhill for what it calls abuse, including alleged violations of laws regarding the use of restraints, time-out and disciplinary measures.
The DLC says it received complaints about the treatment of students last winter, and that Crowell neglected students with disabilities.
Twenty parents were interviewed, and records of seven students were reviewed. Investigators also visited the site and interviewed with the principal, as well as two staff members.
Restraints were overused, students were contained in cubby closets as punishment and students were removed from class for extended portions of the school day if they acted out, according to the DLC. The organization says much of the alleged abuse was for common kindergarten misbehavior.
Investigators are calling on the school to address the issues and have a plan in place in 45 days.
"We just received this report and are in the process of reviewing it in detail. Unfortunately, we did not have an opportunity to thoroughly review the findings before it was released to the media," Superintendent James Scully said in a statement to NBC10 Boston. "Since the district was informed of these allegations last year, several of the issues identified in the report have been and will continue to be addressed to ensure that all Haverhill Public School students receive high quality instruction, supports, and services. In addition, significant changes in the Special Education Department have been implemented."
Earlier, though, Scully told the Eagle Tribune that he "can confidently say that our staff absolutely acted appropriately, given the circumstances they were being subjected to."
In Thursday night's statement to NBC10 Boston, Scully asked parents of students at Crowell to reach out to his office directly with any concerns.