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Boy in a box sparks complaint by mother

Feb. 28, 2012 at 3:05 PM

WILDOMAR, Calif., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A special-needs teacher was placed on leave after she allegedly ordered an autistic student to sit in a cardboard box during class, school officials said.

Sage Rollins, a 10-year-old diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, an autism-related disorder, sat in a decorated cardboard box when in need of "quiet time" in his mainstream fourth-grade class in Wildomar, Calif., school principal Nori Chandler told a Riverside County Sheriff's Department investigator.

The boy's mother, Kim Rollins, has filed an administrative claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, against the Lake Elsinore Unified School District and the teacher, Sabrina Beth McFarlane, alleging that the isolation was involuntary and punitive, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The investigator "failed to find any evidence of criminal wrongdoing," Sheriff's Department spokesman Joshua Morales said, adding the case has been closed.

McFarlane, the teacher, has credentials for working with special needs students, and has been placed on administrative leave.

Rollins said her son told her he was sent to the box "for time outs or when she was mad." She also said her son sat in the box voluntarily.

"I got to do so much relaxing in there," Sage said of the big box.

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