Speaking following reports today of children with autism being locked in ‘withdrawal rooms’ Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien called upon the Minister for Education to immediately hold an inquiry in to the situation and ensure that no child is subjected to traumatic incidents.
The Cork North Central TD said;
“According to reports very young children are being locked in ‘withdrawal rooms’ for hours without supervision.
“Unfortunately guidelines concerning their use are set by individual boards of a management rather than at national level.
“While I understand that these isolation rooms, some of which are smaller than prison cells, are meant to be used only very briefly in extreme circumstances, they are being used more frequently.
“One child was locked in one of these rooms for three days in a row when the child was agitated having fallen behind in school work following the loss of their SNA.
“This demonstrates clearly how children with special needs are living with serious consequences of government cutbacks.
“There is no rule that stipulates schools must state how often they use these rooms and this has to change.
“The Minister must immediately investigate what is going on in schools with these rooms and ensure that no child is subjected to traumatic practices.”