Teacher Of Boy With Autism Moves His Desk To The Bathroom

by Julie Scagell
Courtesy of Danielle Goodwin and Facebook

Lucas was moved into a bathroom with his desk placed over a toilet

The mom of a middle school boy is outraged after the child, who has special needs, was placed in a school bathroom to do his classwork — a solution his teacher came up with to offer him a quiet space to work.

Danielle Goodwin of Washington shared a Facebook photo of her 11-year-old son, Lucas, who has autism and an autoimmune disorder, in the bathroom of Whatcom Middle School where a desk had been placed over a toilet and a chair wheeled in so he could finish his work. “This was his teacher’s solution… yes, that is my son in a bathroom. Yes, that is my son’s desk over a toilet. She also provided a camping mat and pillow for him to nap…. on the bathroom floor.”

Goodwin explained that Lucas does best when he has a quiet place to do his work and when she asked if he could work in the library instead, she was told no. “She also said it was fine for him to be in there because they ‘don’t use it as a bathroom.’”

Goodwin told Yahoo Lifestyle that her son had been struggling with the transition from elementary to middle school and that the family and school had been talking about “quiet areas for him to regroup, such as the library, a conference room, or an unused office.”

She felt the conversations were headed in a positive direction and was understandably furious when she saw during a school drop-off that his desk had been moved into a bathroom. Goodwin said she immediately reached out to the school superintendent who said later in a statement, “…We are all probably aware that state funding for schools is limited, particularly with regards to construction, and thus schools often have limited space to meet students’ instructional and social-emotional needs. We are always looking for creative ways to best use our facilities to meet students’ needs.”

Danielle Goodwin

Goodwin also explained to KOMO News that Lucas has the autoimmune disorder PANDAS and having him in this space could have a major impact on his health. “It’s not an appropriate place for anyone, but especially for Lucas with his PANDAS condition (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections), he can’t be around germs. That’s something that can really affect his body,” she said. “It smelled and just the thought of my son working his school day away in a bathroom was disturbing to me.”

Goodwin said her son will not be going back to school until accommodations can be made for him that will be safe, sanitary, and more importantly, humane. “My son was humiliated, embarrassed, and disgusted at this inhumane suggestion that he work in a bathroom. I immediately took my son home and he will not be returning,” Goodwin continued on Facebook. “When we got home he was throwing up from the anxiety. How is this best practice? How is this ok? We must do better.”