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​Monitoring still needed to prevent seclusion in schools

Graphic: Murals on the side of a school, New Zealand

Seclusion is never an appropriate response to issues arising from disability, the Disability Rights Commissioner said.

A Final Opinion released by the Ombudsman has emphasised the need for regular monitoring of schools when it comes to the use of seclusion, the Human Rights Commission said.

The Final Opinion, released today by Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier, outlines his investigation into the seclusion of an autistic child at Miramar Central School and the recommendations he has made following that investigation.

This follows a Final Opinion the Chief Ombudsman released last month regarding the seclusion of an autistic child at Ruru Specialist School.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero said that while there have been changes to the Education (update) Amendment Act to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools.

"Since the cases outlined in this report were uncovered, the Ministry of Education has taken steps to address the use of seclusion in classrooms. This had also been reinforced in legislation, with the practice now prohibited in all schools. This is a positive outcome," Commissioner Tesoriero said.

"Parents need to know that issues concerning the well-being of their child in the classroom will be addressed through appropriate processes and practices. It is vital that the Ministry and the Education Review Office are regularly monitoring schools to ensure this is taking place.

"Seclusion is never an appropriate response to issues arising from disability and the changes in legislation reflect this. The key is to ensure the practice does not happen again."

Date: 18 December 2017

Source: New Zealand Human Rights Commission


Image credits

  1. Murals on the side of a school, New Zealand - Jodie Wilson, Flickr