10-year-old Autistic Boy Kept in a Cage at School in Australia

by Shirley Johanna on  September 11, 2015 at 12:40 PM Child Health News   - G J E 4
A school principal in Australia has been suspended for building a steel cage to house a 10-year-old autistic boy.

The child was locked in the two meter cage, which was fitted with a self-closing latch and built for $5,195 using school's funds.
10-year-old Autistic Boy Kept in a Cage at School in Australia
10-year-old Autistic Boy Kept in a Cage at School in Australia

The issue came to light after a complaint was made to the Children and Young People's Commissioner about the cage.

ACT education minister Joy Burch said that she was very disappointed by what an independent inquiry into the incident had turned up.

"It is completely unacceptable that a decision was taken to build such a structure as a response to the student's behavior. This decision is wrong and the officer responsible will no longer be a school principal or be working within a school," said Burch.

The independent inquiry found that the decision to build the cage was solely from one individual and made without input, consultation or approval from inside the school or the ACT Education and Training Directorate.

The cage was constructed by an external builder on March 10. It was intended as a calm-down space for the child. Staff has placed the student in the cage once. The cage was dismantled on March 24.

The inquiry concluded that officers within the directorate failed to act with sufficient urgency or alarm when alerted to the structure.

Burch said, "This has been extremely frustrating. The length of time this has taken did not meet community expectations or my expectations as minister."

Two teachers with expertise in disability education have been assigned to the school.

Kate Ellis, Shadow Education Minister said, " The mistreatment of students with a disability was 'shocking and deeply disturbing'. The abuse or neglect of students with disability is absolutely unacceptable. All students - including those with disability - deserve to be recognised as learners and supported to achieve their best."

"As a society, we have a responsibility to ensure our schools are safe and caring environments for all students, at all times. It was also revealed that the school only removed the cage when they were ordered to do so by the ACT Education Department after they received a complaint from the boy's parents," said Ellis.

Source: Medindia

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