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Minister’s decision on illegal seclusion rooms welcomed

4 November 2016

CCS Disability Action welcomes the Minister’s decision on illegal seclusion rooms.

CCS Disability Action fully supports the decision to make the use of seclusion illegal in schools and early childhood education centres. Education Minister Hekia Parata’s announcement is welcome news for everyone in our country who believes in upholding basic human rights.

CCS Disability Action agrees that many schools do have good practices in place for managing behaviours perceived as challenging in a safe and inclusive way, but just one disabled child treated in this manner is one too many.

It is our hope that this addition to the Education Amendment Bill will ensure the rights of disabled children are respected and upheld in every instance and that the broader inclusion of disabled children is prioritised.

CCS Disability Action Acting Chief Executive, Auriole Ruka, said seclusion had no place in education.

“Locking children up in a small, dark room alone is not an acceptable or sustainable solution to discipline. It also breaches the rights of disabled children. We have signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which clearly indicate that restraint methods like the use of seclusion should be left in the past. We recognise that disabled children can be at a higher risk of having their rights breached than non-disabled children and require further legislation to protect and support their rights. .”

The issue reflects wider concerns about the inclusion of disabled children in mainstream education. “Seclusion is just one part of the story for disabled children. Disabled children are regularly excluded, in a number of ways from mainstream education. This could be when parents are told their local school isn’t ‘equipped’ to enrol their child, or their child can’t come to school that day because a Teacher Aid isn’t available, or they can’t attend a school camp for ‘health and safety reasons’. This is the reality for many of our families, so there’s still a lot of work to be done to see children included in education.”

ENDS

CCS Disability Action Background Information

CCS Disability Action is a community organisation that has been advocating for disabled people to be included in the community since 1935.

As of June 30 2016, we were providing support to 4,955 children, young people and adults through our 18 branches, which operate from Northland to Invercargill. Our support focuses on breaking down barriers to participation. We receive a mixture of government and private funding.

CCS Disability Action has a national network of access coordinators, who work with local government and transport operators to create a more inclusive society. We also run the Mobility Parking scheme. As of June 30 2016, this scheme supported more than 130,000 people to more easily access their local towns and facilities. Our fully owned subsidiary, Lifetime Design Ltd, advocates for and provides universal design guidelines to improve the accessibility of New Zealand housing


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