April 9, 2015

'Metal Cage' for Special Needs Student Shock

An Australian principal who erected a cage-like “withdrawal space” for an elementary school student with special needs has been suspended pending an independent investigation into the incident.

Officials have not released the name of the school or any details about the child, but according to local media reports, the student is a 10-year-old boy with autism.

It has been widely reported that a principal at a public school in Canberra used metal pool fencing to build a two-metre by two-metre enclosure inside a classroom because a student was “exhibiting challenging behaviour. Following an anonymous complaint to the Human Rights Commission, the structure has been removed. It is not known if the enclosure was used.  

Director General of ACT Education Dianne Joseph told local media that special needs classrooms often make use of withdrawal spaces when students have behavioural issues, but the cage-like structure was “clearly unacceptable.” 

Challenging behaviour training for teachers

An Analysis of State Seclusion and Restraint Laws and Policies

Expert Panel to Examine How Schools Respond to Pupils with Special Needs