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(UK) Use of seclusion with mentally ill students called 'child abuse'

June 30, 2018, Independent: Schools fuel mental health crisis by isolating children in harsh 'consequences booths', ministers warned https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/mental-health-children-uk-school-isolation-punishment-consequence-booths-education-a8423531.html Schools are fuelling a mental health crisis among children by isolating them in harsh “consequences booths” for the entire day for trivial reasons, ministers have been warned. The Department for Education is being urged to investigate draconian punishment policies introduced by some academy chains, which an MP protested would be banned in any workplace. Paul Williams, who is also a GP, said parents in his constituency were angry and alarmed by the practices – reporting that children were suffering growing anxiety and nightmares in some cases. They were confined in small booths for up to seven hours, for accumulated minor offences including forgetting a pen, making a paper aeroplane, looking out of a window and sucking on a mint…. A teachers’ union echoed the MP’s fears that children with existing mental disorders were being “caught up” in the crackdowns, while campaigners against academies said the “worst cases verge on child abuse”. Dr Williams, the MP for Stockton South, has demanded a meeting with the schools’ minister, describing the consequences booths as a “threat to mental health”…. “Parents have told me that their children are developing mental health problems as a result of the knowledge that they will be kept in these consequence booths – they are suffering nightmares and anxiety. “We know we already have a crisis of mental health problems among young people. Schools should be giving those pupils support – but this policy is doing the reverse.”… Rosamund McNeil, its assistant general secretary, said: “Often, when children are misbehaving, it masks frustration with school work, difficulties at home or emotional needs. “Children with special needs such as autism or behavioural difficulties can get caught up in behaviour systems if the school isn’t given the specialist support they need from local agencies.”…