(UK) Scotland: 'Shocking case' reveals extent of restraint/seclusion in schools

Mar 15, 2019, Scottish Herald: Autistic and disabled pupils 'physically injured and traumatised' in schools, charities claim Charities for parents of children with learning disabilities have welcomed the decision to strike off a teacher who mistreated four autistic pupils , but warned that hers is far from an isolated case…. Mackie also left a distressed pupil to bang his head off the floor through what the professional standards watchdog described as a "tough love" attitude, and stopped other school staff from intervening – leaving the boy with bruises and markings. Positive and Active Behaviour Support Scotland (PABSS) supports parents whose disabled children have been mistreated at school. Founder and chief executive Beth Morrison said: "This shocking case adds to the evidence about the experiences disabled children suffer at the hands of those paid to care for them and it should be the start of real action to end this appalling treatment of vulnerable children. A six month suspension in this case seems derisory. … In December last year a report from the Children and Young People's Commissioner for Scotland warned of regular complaints that children were being restrained or placed in seclusion in response to difficult behaviour and called on the Scottish Government to publish national guidance and ensure all incidents were properly recorded. In January this year, a study by the Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) said vulnerable children across the UK were being mistreated and punished for behaviour they could not help. Vivien Cooper, CBF Chief Executive said: “The South Lanarkshire case is shocking but unfortunately it is not an isolated case. Our report Reducing Restrictive Intervention of Children: Case study and survey results, Jan 2019) shows that other vulnerable, disabled children are being physically injured and traumatised by those charged with their care in some schools and this needs to stop." In many cases children who are behaving in a challenging way are not being 'naughty' but trying to communicate in the only way they know how, she said. "Vulnerable children across the UK are regularly experiencing restraint, seclusion and other restrictions in the very places they are supposed to be safe. Families tell us that in some cases, they feel staff were aiming to “punish” their disabled children." He called for staff to be trained in a technique known as Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) adding: "Schools using PBS taken an individualised approach to children’s needs and recognise that the way to approach challenging behaviour is to deal with the issue causing it. Schools using it have reduced the need for restrictive interventions, making school a safer, calmer place for both children and staff."… NAS, Children in Scotland and Scottish Autism are campaigning for high quality autism training for teachers to be mandatory and of a high quality, he added. "All teachers will have autistic pupils in their classrooms throughout their careers. Those teachers deserve training to help them teach their pupils, and those pupils deserve to be taught by someone who understands their needs.”