New guidelines on how to deal with students needing withdrawal spaces has been issued to ACT schools in response to the cage scandal.
An inquiry was launched last year after it was revealed a 10-year-old boy with autism had been locked in a metal cage at a Canberra school.
The two-metre by two-metre structure was used as what was described as a withdrawal space for the boy before a complaint was made to the human rights commissioner.
Today, the ACT Government said it had adopted all 50 recommendations made by the inquiry and had agreed to issue the new guidelines on the use of withdrawal spaces and physical restraint.
The guidelines emphasised that “restrictive practices” such as the physical restraint of a child could only be used as a “last resort”.
Practices to restrict the “rights or freedom of movement” of students could only be used in a bid to protect them or others from harm in a “one-off” situation.
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It said before physical restraint was applied a range of measures must be considered including withdrawal to a time-out in a quiet supervised space.
Physical restraint used as planned response: guidelines
The guidelines also stated that restrictive practices could be used as a “planned response” in serious behavioural intervention cases.
But this would need to be documented in a management plan, approved by professionals, by the parents of the child and the Education Directorate, and reviewed once a term.
Education Minister Shane Rattenbury told 666…