Marmet Elementary School creates a safe space for students who act out


MARMET, WV (WOWK) — With the challenges of COVID-19 students at Marmet Elementary School now have somewhere to go where they can find peace.

“Some of the children are coming to us from very traumatic situations at home, and they come here to get peace. Some of our children come from wonderful families and wonderful homes, but they have a bad day, said Cindy Schilling, Marmet Elementary School Principal.

This quiet space called the “comfort zone” provides students with a place to relax whenever they need to.

“When they are acting out, a lot of that frustration comes out as anger. They will act out and either pick up something, throw something, sit on the floor, disrupt the classroom, so we don’t want anyone to hurt themselves or other students,” said Schilling.

The Comfort Zone is an alternative to suspension and expulsion. It gives students a second chance to correct their behavior with positive reinforcement.

“It’s just how you handle that frustration is what we’re trying to teach them, so we’re trying to teach them a lifelong lesson,” said Schilling.

With a limited budget, Marmet Elementary School got pretty creative with the sensory items they use to help their students calm down. One includes sponges to squeeze, stuffed animals to hug, and sticky pads to touch. Cindy Schilling, the school’s principal transformed half of her office into the comfort zone, allowing her to still supervise.

“I love to help kids and especially, during this pandemic. We are seeing a lot more stress and a lot more behavior problems. Kids are coming in and they just haven’t had that structure for a year and a half,” said Kaylynn Barret, Marmet Elementary School Counselor.

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