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Mom of boy with autism furious after school puts desk in bathroom

School removed desk, chair and issued statement

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (KCPQ) – A mother in Washington state is speaking out after she says her son's school district moved his desk into the bathroom. 

Danielle Goodwin says she received a shock this week when she went into her 11-year-old son Lucas' classroom at Whatcom Middle School in Bellingham. 

"The teacher informed us that he would be studying in the bathroom," she said.

In a photo Goodwin took, a desk is seen over a toilet and a chair next to the sink. 

"And a napping mat, so he was expected to use that mat to sleep on the bathroom floor," she said. 

Goodwin says Lucas requires special needs. She says he has autism, and loud sounds are a trigger for him.

"We were trying to find a quieter place for him to work," Goodwin said.

She said, in the past, she's had no problems with the school district meeting her son's educational needs.

"I was excited," Lucas said, as he started 6th grade this year. 

Now, he says he's scared. 

"I thought this was where I was going to be for the rest of the year," he said.

Goodwin said the staff at Whatcom Middle didn't provide any alternative learning space for her son. So she took him out of school before he ever had to use the bathroom as a classroom. 

"We are still waiting to hear back from the district," she said. 

Bellingham School District officials would not speak on camera but provided a statement. 

"We are continuing to look into this, but at this time, it appears the restroom was set up as a possible separate quiet learning space, but no student was placed in there," the statement read. "The desk has been removed, and the staff at the school are aware that the space should not be used for that purpose in the future. While we aren't able to share specific details about our students, we can tell you that keeping our students safe and engaged in learning are our top priorities."

Goodwin says she appreciates that they moved the desk, but that doesn't help her son's self-esteem or embarrassment.

Lucas says he "never" wants to go back to the school, because, he says, "They put me in a bathroom."