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Official Says School Will Stop Using ‘Cage’ For Discipline

February 7, 1987

TROY, N.Y. (AP) _ Three pupils were disciplined by being placed in a wire-enclosed area known as ″the cage,″ but a school official says the punishment never will be used again.

The practice at the Brittonkill School came to light when Sandy Nitz told a Parent-Teacher Association meeting this week that her 12-year-old son had been left in the small, cold room alone for two days.

″Believe me, I’m not against discipline,″ Mrs. Nitz said in a telephone interview Friday. ″It’s just the room was not appropriate, because of it being so cold, and because it was unsupervised.″

The room is adjacent to the supervisor’s office, and closed off from the middle school’s weight-lifting area by chicken wire. A loading dock is on another side.

″It will never be used again,″ Superintendent Jerome Ochs said Friday. He denied charges that the children were left unsupervised.

″The kids call it ‘the cage’ or ’Siberia,‴ said Mrs. Nitz. She said she learned about her son’s punishment from a school official, then asked her son about it.

″He said, ’Mom, I don’t want to go there again, I was so cold,″ she said.

She said her son, Jason, was sent to the room for two days in November because he talked too much and disrupted the class. He was not permitted to bring books, she said.

Ochs said only three pupils had been sent to the room; the other two were not identified.

″Other parents, I think, have a legitimate right to be concerned if it happens, in fact does happen, the way they think it does,″ he said of the disciplinary practice. ″But it simply doesn’t.″

Mrs. Nitz said she was pleased the room would no longer be used for discipline, and said wasn’t angry at school officials.

″This was just one of those things. It wasn’t well thought out,″ she said. ″I feel strongly our school district is a very good one.″

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