‘Isolation box:’ abuse or therapy for elementary school kids?

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LONGVIEW, Wash. (WTVR) - An isolation booth at an elementary school in Longview, Washington is causing quite a stir. 

Some parents are upset about the room -- but school administrators are defending it.

Photos of the isolation booth have spread across the web like wildfire. From the outside you can see the booth is located in a storage area and has two peep holes at different heights. Inside, students can sit on the floor of the small padded room while the ceiling features air holes for ventilation. 

Parents of students at the school are criticizing its use, saying it's abusive. Some argue kids are locked in for crying or for tapping on their desk.

While many seem upset by the use of the booth, school leaders are defending.

"People have their own opinions without having a lot of the information about it. I would not classify it as abusive," Spokeswoman Sandy Catt with the Longview school district said.

Catt goes on to say that the booth is designed as a kind of therapy for children needing to calm down. Of the 6,500 students in the Longview school district only eight or nine are allowed to go inside because the school has recieved permission for their parents.

"It is concering to us that there may not be a complete understanding of the situation," Catt said.

Some of the kids even voluntarily go inside the booth for a break from stimulation and whenever a student is inside, a school staff member is on the other side of the door, monitoring what happens.

The isolation booth has been at the elementary school for the past four years. 

The school hosts a special education program for disabled students with behavioral issues.