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Saturday, May 28, 2005
  Despite the authors histrionics, it would appear that the coat closet-gulag was effective.
· IN-FORUM ·: "A Fargo elementary school student and his parents claim in a federal lawsuit that the boy's teacher kept him imprisoned in a classroom closet for six months.

The boy, referred to as 'John Doe,' was a third-grader at Fargo's Roosevelt Elementary School when veteran teacher Steven Gravalin ordered him to sit at a desk in a 'closet' during the later half of the 2002-03 school year, the lawsuit says.

The boy's mother learned of her son's treatment late in May 2003. Despite her repeated complaints, Gravalin and the school's principal, Kim Colwell, said the closet was the best place for the 'disruptive' boy, the lawsuit says.

School officials and an attorney representing the school district offered a much different version of events surrounding the boy's treatment.

The third-grader sat at a desk in the classroom's coat room only when students were required to complete assignments, said Gary Thune, a Bismarck attorney representing the school district.
This room in a second-floor classroom at Roosevelt Elementary School in north Fargo is the focus of a federal civil lawsuit filed Wednesday in Fargo’s U.S. District Court. The parents of a third-grade student in the 2002-2003 school year allege he was forced to sit in the room for six months. Bruce Crummy / The Forum
Room at Roosevelt School
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'He wasn't getting his work done,' Thune said. 'He was placed in the coat room to minimize distractions.

'And it worked,' Thune said. 'His learning picked up, and he got his work done."
 
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