Washington mom furious after discovering school’s plan to put desk for son with autism in bathroom

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - A woman is furious with the Bellingham School District because of how she says they treated her son.

Danielle Goodwyn says her 11-year-old son Lucas has special needs and requires a quiet learning environment.  She says she received a shock this week when she went into her son's classroom at Whatcom Middle School.

"The teacher informed us that he would be studying in the bathroom," she told KCPQ.

In a photo that Goodwyn took, a desk is seen sitting over the toilet, and a chair is next to the sink.

"And a napping mat, so he was expected to use that mat to sleep on the bathroom floor," she said.

Goodwyn tells KCPQ that Lucas has autism and loud sounds are a trigger for him.

"We were trying to find a quieter place for him to work," she said.

She says there have been no issues with meeting Lucas' education needs at the district in the past.  He started sixth grade this year, and says he now feels scared.

"I thought this was going to be where I was for the rest of the year," he said.

Goodwyn says the faculty at Whatcom Middle School did not provide any alternative learning space for her son, so she took him out of school.

"We are still waiting to hear from the district," she said.

Bellingham School District officials. They issued the following statement to KCPQ:

We are continuing to look into this, but at this time, it appears that the restroom was set up as a possible separate quiet learning space, but no student was placed in there.

The desk has been removed, and staff at the school are aware that the space should not be used for that purpose in the future.

While we aren’t able to share specific details about our students, we can tell you that keeping our students safe and engaged in learning are our top priorities.

"Great that they removed the desk, but that doesn't help my son's self-esteem, his embarrassment," Goodwyn said.

Goodwyn says she shared her story to warn parents, and that if she did not go into her son's class that day she would never have known about any of this.

The district says they received the complaint Thursday morning and are still investigating. They say that to their knowledge bathrooms have not been used as alternative learning spaces.

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