'Something is wrong': Inquiry hears harrowing school violence stories

ACT Minister for education

Sherryn Groch, Kirsten Lawson

A nine-year-old boy who feels "all hope is lost" after being punched, kicked and strangled in the schoolyard remains in the same class as the child responsible.

A family was forced to send their daughter interstate to escape bullying and violence at school, after footage of her assault spread across social media last year.

These are some of the harrowing stories parents have shared with an ACT inquiry into school violence

New Canberra autism support model bringing joy back into family life

Glynis Quinlan

Early last year life became very tough for Nikita Fulton of Flynn. Recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Nikita was traumatised by having to change schools in Week 3 of the first term of Year 8 due to difficulties with affording school fees. She had no school friends and was stressed, unhappy and struggling at school.

ACT: letter to Chief Minister -

Dear Mr Barr MLA & Ms Berry MLA

Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD) remains concerned that there has been no discernible progress in the ACT Education Directorate towards recognising the need for and employing properly trained and registered behavioural clinicians to support students with distressed behavior in ACT schools. 

ACT Government: number of autistic prisoners

prisoners being sniffed by sniffer dog on lead

SOfASD asked the ACT Government how many autistic prisoners there are in the AMC. You can download the Minister's response (6/7/2018) from the link below.

Basically, the ACT Government says:

  • it doesn't know how many of its prisoners (detainees?) are autistic
  • detainees can self-identify as autistic and have their claim written on their ACTCS Induction Form
  • its system "offer[s] a supported environment and care coordination for detainees with identified complex needs". They do not indicate how many detainees meet this criterion, or say whether self-identifying as autistic means having "identified complex needs" (it's sounds unlikely).  The ACT Government provided no evidence whatsoever of any actual support
  • it asked the AMC and JHS "to work collaboratively on improving the data collection and storage processes" ... if this happens the ACT Government may be able eventually to answer basic questions about the number of autistic prisoners

Special needs school transport for autistic boy refused

Emily Baker

Canberra's Education Directorate told a single mum it could not help transport her autistic son to school despite having a spare seat on a bus for students with disability already travelling the route.

Instead, the directorate suggested Nancy Ju move her son

to a school closer to home, noting she had agreed at his 2014 enrolment to transport him to Duffy Primary from their Chisholm home.

New watchdog to monitor 'restrictive practices' in ACT schools

Minister Stephen-Smith talking

Steven Trask

A new watchdog position has been established in the ACT to oversee the use of restrictive practices by schools and disabilities services.

Restrictive practices are defined as any measure that restricts the "freedom of movement of a person for the primary purpose of protecting the person or others from harm".

Legislation establishing the position comes in the wake of a scandal revealed in 2015, in which a 10-year-old boy with autism was placed in a blue cage inside a Canberra school.

ACT: number of autistic prisoners

To:RATTENBURY <> CC:Rachel Stephen-Smith <>,, Mr Andrew Barr MLA <>, STEPHEN-SMITH <> Dear Minister We note Emily Baker's story, ACT government unsure how many prisoners have disability, in the Canberra Times (3/6/2018). We are not aware of any stakeholder engagement on this issue which is disappointing since autism spectrum disorder is currently the biggest distinct disability type in the NDIS.


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