Canberra — Australian ACT Education Minister Joy Burch says inquiry over an incident wherein it was found that a school caged a student with autism to separate him from the rest of the student population during his meltdowns is still ongoing.
According to the minister, she expects that the investigation will be completed in three weeks. Burch also remained firm about her policy of keeping specific information about the incident kept from public, citing that revealing certain information may compromise the identity of the family of the victim.
Parents of children from the school involved as well as autism advocates aren’t happy about Burch’s decision, however, and many have complained that it’s been 10 weeks since the incident has been made public and the education minister is still keeping them in the dark.
But Burch affirms her actions are necessary to protect the family involved. She told:
“If you go and start to identify the broader school community, you identify the school, you identify the staff involved, you identify the family. And at all costs, I will maintain the privacy and the welfare of that family.”
Spokesman for ACT Opposition Education Steve Doszpot disagrees with her. He said:
“There is no doubt that the students and parents have been impacted by the uncertainty surrounding this issue. Nobody is asking the minister to divulge information that will impact on the inquiry but she needs to talk to the school community about how they are feeling and what is troubling them.”
Both the parents of the schoolchildren as well as a number of autism advocates have been questioning how the school was even given the permission to build the cage in the first place, and who was responsible for that decision.
According to Australian Education Union’s ACT Secretary Glenn Fowler:
“While we understand the need for privacy, the whole school community knows that they are the impacted school and it is in the interests of openness and transparency that this community is supported and cared for.”
Source: Emma MacDonald on The Canberra Times: Education Minister Joy Burch expects autism cage inquiry to be completed within three weeks