A girl who tried to kill herself after spending months in an isolation booth at school has said she felt “alone, trapped and no-one seemed to care”. The BBC reports.
The teenager, who has autism, had no direct teaching and ate her lunch in the room, away from friends.
Her mother said for months she was unaware of what was happening to her daughter and called on the government to improve guidance for schools.
In a letter to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, the teenager – who we are calling “Sophie” – said: “I decided I’d rather die than be in isolation because of the mood it left me in.
“I felt alone and trapped at school for such a long time that I felt as though it would be best, as no-one seemed to care anyway.”
Her mother, “Philippa”, estimates that her daughter was placed in an isolation booth at her secondary school more than 240 times in total – beginning in year seven but becoming more frequent in years 10 and 11.
On one occasion, Sophie said: “I begged the teachers to ring my Mum as I didn’t want to be alone any more.
“They refused and took my phone away, leaving me and a teacher I didn’t know in an enclosed room.”
After she tried to take her own life, Sophie returned to school but said she would “dread each day” when she was again placed in isolation.
According to a BBC investigation last year, more than 200 pupils spent at least five straight days in isolation booths in schools in England last year.
Philippa added that the school had also been aware of her daughter’s plans to self-harm before she tried to take her own life, through a letter the teenager had written to them.
But the school did not make her aware of the letter at the time, she said.
“I can’t even begin to explain how it makes you feel knowing every day I’d send her into the school and she felt that alone that she wanted to take her own life.”
Read more and listen to ‘Sophie’ explain how she felt ‘I was put in a school isolation booth more than 240 times’
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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