Parata to make “prison cells” inside schools illegal


Education Minister Hekia Parata is planning to introduce new legislation to make the rooms illegal, saying they are unacceptable and it needs to be clear in the law.

The Ombudsman is investigating the use of such rooms in schools, following complaints about Miramar Central School in Wellington and Ruru Specialist School in Invercargill.

At the Miramar school, one 11-year-old boy, described as autistic and with the mental age of a toddler, was reportedly put in the room 13 times in nine days.

The parents of another boy with autism, aged six, said their son was also put in the room, which was described as the size of a toilet.

Ms Parata will ask Parliament’s Education and Science committee to add it to the Education (Update) Amendment Bill.

Last month Ms Parata told Parliament a Ministry of Education review found eight special schools had seclusion rooms and seven of them had used them in the past year.

That survey was still being finalised but the minister said she had been assured the issue is not widespread.

Ms Parata told Morning Report though there was only a “very small handful” of schools using seclusion the law was unclear.

“So I want to make it unambiguous that seclusion rooms and the practice of seclusion is not acceptable and will be made illegal.”

Meh. ?As I said before. ?Pop a bed in and call it Sick Bay 2.

Problem solved.

It is all very well to remove a solution that keeps the staff and the student safe. ?It doesn’t actually solve the original problem.