(UK) Calls for restraint/seclusion rules in Scottish schools

Dec 13, 2018, Guardian: ‘Ungoverned’ use of restraint and seclusion in Scottish schools criticized The “ungoverned” and potentially illegal use of restraint and seclusion is taking place across Scotland’s schools, according to the country’s children and young people’s commissioner. The commissioner’s report, seen exclusively by the Guardian, reveals thousands of largely unmonitored incidents, glaring inconsistencies in policy between local authorities and significant concerns that the techniques are being used disproportionately on children with disabilities and additional support needs. Challenging the Scottish government to turn its rhetoric on human rights into action, the commissioner, Bruce Adamson, called for all schools without adequate policies to stop using restraint and seclusion “as a matter of urgency” until national guidelines and standards were put in place. … … We are also concerned that the Scottish government hasn’t done enough to provide clear direction to local authorities to make sure we have a consistent reporting across the country.” The report – the first to use the office’s formal powers of investigation, and taking in all state primary and secondary schools in Scotland – was prompted by dozens of inquiries from parents and carers of children with disabilities and other additional support needs, raising concerns about the use of these techniques as a method of behaviour management. The investigation uncovered a chaotic picture across the country. Four out of 32 local authorities do not have policies on restraint and seclusion. … Case study: ‘My son was traumatised’ Sharon Gardner’s son Fraser is an articulate 10-year-old who likes Nintendo Switch, Star Wars and the Beano, and who has been diagnosed with autism and ADHD. Gardner removed Fraser from mainstream schooling two years ago after she discovered that her son was being kept in a locked room with no external windows, with no access to toilet facilities, for hours at a time. “He was terrified of this room and became more and more anxious about going to school. Teachers explained to me that it was a room for him to calm down, but I would find that he had wet himself, and on one occasion found a teacher holding the door shut while he screamed to be let out,” she says. Only later did Fraser explain to his mother that he would often be physically restrained by two staff members and carried through the open-plan school in front of other pupils before being placed in the room. “I phoned the police because this was obviously assault, but they refused to do anything about it,” Gardner says…. When Gardner described Fraser’s experiences online, she was flooded with replies from other parents across the country. “It’s been really frustrating, and devastating actually, that no one professional seemed to care. My child has been abused by professionals and nobody has said sorry. As far as I know, these people are still working with children. My son was extremely traumatised by their treatment, while other children in the school also had to witness it.” … Meanwhile, Fraser remains terrified of schools. “I can’t even say the word to him now. He’s much happier being home-schooled, it means that I can tailor things to his needs and he’s not getting punished for his disability, but I would like to have the choice.”