ACT Government releases report in response to 'boy in cage' incident

The ACT Government has released a 275-page report into the way children with "complex needs and challenging behaviours" can be accommodated in Canberra's school system.

The Schools for all Children and Young People report was released in response to an incident in April where a 10-year-old boy with autism was placed in a cage at a Canberra primary school described as a withdrawal space.

Behavioural needs of autistic Australians must be met

A range of initiatives are needed to address autism in Australia, the cost of which to the budget has been put at at least $20 billion a year.

The recent case of an autistic child being sent to a purpose-built cage in a classroom caused international outrage, but teachers are ill-prepared to access professional support when a student needs it, Bob Buckley writes.

letter: motion of no confidence in Minister and ACT Government

Ministers Andrew Barr MLA and Joy Burch MLA
ACT Legislative Assembly

Dear Chief Minister and Minister,

This letter is to inform you that the Committee of Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD) in the ACT passed a motion of no confidence on 17/9/2015 in:

  • the ACT Minister for Education and for Disability, and

  • the ACT Government

over events relating to the recent boy-in-the-cage “incident”.

Photo of cage used to restrain boy with autism at Canberra school becomes public

A photo of a cage used to restrain a young boy with autism at a Canberra school has become public.

Constructed of blue metal pool fencing, the two-metre by two-metre cage clearly has a roof and a rear door — which was able to be latched shut.

The cage was built by an external contractor with $5,195 of school funds.

Burch promises the ‘kid in a cage’ case was an isolated incident

Editor: the lack of professional/qualified behaviour support for students with autism/ASD in ACT schools in not an "isolated incident", it's a well established long term policy of this Education and Disability Minister.

JOY Burch and Director-General of the Education and Training Directorate Diane Joseph have released the key findings from an independent investigation into the construction of an “inappropriate structure” at an ACT Public School.

“Through all of this, my key concern has been the welfare of the child and the family involved,” Joy said.

“I am very disappointed by the things found through this investigation.

“It is completely unacceptable that a decision was taken to build this type of structure to respond to the behaviour of a student. This decision was wrong, and the officer responsible will no longer be a school principal or be working within a school. School principals must be held responsible for their actions.

SOfASD Submission to Expert Panel on ACT's caged student

SOfASD made a submission to the ACT's Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviour.

SOfASD's submission has the following conclusions.

We expect a whitewash from the Expert Panel. Given its composition, it seems unlikely that there will be the adverse finding that are needed to drive improvement. But if there are adverse findings, the ACT Government will sweep them under the carpet as soon as it believes it can get away with it.

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Challenging behaviour in schools under the microscope after boy-in-cage affair

, Chief Assembly reporter for The Canberra Times.

In the wake of the boy-in-a-cage affair, ACT Education Minister Joy Burch has announced a wide review of how schools deal with children with challenging behaviour, from violence to classroom disruption.

The review will also look at students "complex needs" and at the use of "exclusionary withdrawal".

Child reportedly contained in cage-like structure at ACT primary school

A school that placed a child with special needs and behavioural issues in a cage-like withdrawal space told parents it had intended it to be a "sanctuary". 

ACT Education has suspended a principal and launched an investigation into how a primary school student was placed in the purpose built two-by-two-metres structure made of metal pool fencing.

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