DENVER (KDVR) — Three separate investigations are underway following allegations that a Denver middle school locked students alone inside a so-called seclusion room.

The reports made it to the country’s top education official. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona told “Colorado Point of View” this week that these types of rooms should not be used.

“Look, we shouldn’t be having as a strategy a place where a student who’s in trauma is locked in a room alone and possibly harming themselves or destroying the room. We have to have layers of intervention and that requires support,” Cardona said.

Denver Public Schools does not allow students to be locked in a room, hence the investigations surrounding the reports at McAuliffe International School. But state law does allow for seclusion rooms in certain situations.

Miguel Cardona in a suit
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks with “Colorado Point of View” during a visit to the state on Aug. 10, 2023. (KDVR)

Cardona: 500 students for every 1 school counselor

Some state lawmakers are looking to change that rule.

“So whether we’re talking about a blanket statement or local districts, I think this is an important conversation to really think through the challenges that many of our schools are having,” Cardona said.

Mental health is one of the key issues schools are dealing with nationwide. Cardona also highlighted the lingering impacts of the pandemic.

“The fact that there’s been an increase in trauma, the fact that we have student-counselor ratios of 500-to-1, and that in many schools, they may not even have a social worker or have someone to help,” Cardona said.

You can see how the education secretary looks to help educators and students nationwide on this week’s episode of “Colorado Point of View,” which airs Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 2.