Principal sacked after shocking treatment of autistic student

by Steve Randall10 Sep 2015
A school principal has been sacked and other public servants face disciplinary action which could cost them their jobs following an inquiry into the shocking treatment of a 10-year old autistic student in Canberra.
 
It’s understood that the boy, who is autistic, was abusive towards teachers and other students and the decision was taken that a metal cage would be erected for his exclusive use.

The 8 cubic metre cage with a self-closing latch and door is believed to have been used only once by staff but was brought to the attention of school officials by a member of the school community.

The structure was bought from an outside contractor using $5,195 of school funds.

The Canberra Times reports the story but has not named the school or those involved in order to protect the identity of the student.

ACT Education Directorate officials were told about the cage on March 17 and now face sanctions for failing to act at this time. It was only when a senior executive learned of its existence nine days later that it was removed from the classroom.

The inquiry stated: Officers within the directorate did not meet directorate or public expectations by acting with sufficient urgency or alarm when provided with information about the structure".

Director-general of ACT Education Diane Joseph has said that the principal would not be returning to a school but the Australian Education Union has expressed concern that the principal has been “scapegoated” by the decision.

The directorate has appointed a director with responsibility for ensuring that all students’ wellbeing and safety is upheld, especially the most vulnerable.