YouthLaw on the Seclusion Room Issue
Vanushi Walters – General Manager YouthLaw Aotearoa says
“While YouthLaw welcomes the announcement from Minister Parata that we will see legislative change making the use of
seclusion rooms illegal, a chief concern for YouthLaw is how this practice was either permitted or went under the radar
for so long beyond a period of time when it might have been considered acceptable practice.
What this highlights for us are two issues
Firstly the absence of an appropriate accountability framework through which decisions that have a significant impact on
students can be tested, including an Independent Education Review Authority which would provide an accessible check on
the system when families experience issues and more thorough monitoring and review of school disciplinary procedures.
Secondly the question of whether schools are appropriately funded and supported to provide a meaningful education to
children with special education needs and if adequate support isn’t in place, which we do not believe it is, how this
support will change in a sufficient and systematic way going forward.
The timing to consider these issues is ideal as there is currently an Education Bill open to public submissions until 11
November. We are also heading into an election year and need to make sure we ask for political commitment around the
changes we’d like to see in Education. At the end of the day we have to ask ourselves, is it ok that the Education of
our children remains an area of public life that goes largely unchecked? Surely we owe it not only to our kids but to
the hard working schools and teachers who support their learning to invest in a more robust education sector.”