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How ‘the Most Violent’ Special Education School Ended Restraint and Seclusion

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Twenty years ago, a visitor to Centennial School would have heard a cacophony.

“Banging on doors, yelling, wailing,” said Julie Fogt, the current director of the school. “Adults were loud: ‘Stop that, stop that! Crisis! I need help!’”

It was a private school, but public schools paid to send their most troubled kids there. The school took only children who had both a diagnosis of autism or emotional disturbance and a history of severe behavior issues.

“It was the most violent school I’d ever been in,” said Michael George, the former director.

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