Listen to the 'On The Line' podcast: Isolated, traumatized in Michigan schools

The story was originally published in Detroit Free Press with support from the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism's 2022 National Fellowship.

CHJ ยท Isolated, traumatized in Michigan schools

On The Line

  • Host: Cary Junior II
  • Producers: Cary Junior II and Darcie Moran
  • Executive producers:  Anjanette Delgado and Maryann Struman  
  • Guest: Free Press education inequities reporter Lily Altavena, Kai Atallah, 9, and his mom, Cassie Atallah, of Holland
  • Theme song: "Fort Trumbull" by DJ LostBoy, Detroit
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On this episode: Lawmakers sought to restrict the use of seclusion and restraints on students in Michigan schools back in 2016. It was only supposed to be used for emergencies, they said.

But the state has logged nearly 94,000 instances of use since then, the majority involving students with disabilities like Kai Atallah.

On the latest episode of the "On The Line" podcast, host Cary Junior II hears from 9-year-old Kai about his experiences being forced into a room alone during behavioral episodes and from Kai's mom, Cassie Atallah, about the impact on her son.

Junior speaks with education inequities reporter Lily Altavena about a Free Press investigation into the use of the tactics in Michigan schools, why educators still use them and why experts are concerned.

"On The Line" is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Podcasts.

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