Campaigners call for stricter rules on child restraint in schools

As reported by the BBC, Enable Scotland has said that the current system is putting children at risk of psychological and physical harm

The campaign group wants more staff who are trained in supporting positive behaviours in classrooms following 2,674 incidents reported incidents last year.

According to Enable, which provides advocacy for people with learning disabilities, children in Scotland are often put at risk due to unregulated, unsupported and unacceptable practices in schools – with limited routes of redress for parents.

Its latest report, In Safe Hands? claimed the current system denied children their rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Enable said Scotland’s local authorities recorded 2,674 incidents of restraint and seclusion relating to 386 children during 2017/2018.

But it added that the figure did not paint the picture, as 10 out of 32 local authorities failed to provide data.

Daniel Gourlay from Inverness was five years old when he was first physically restrained at school by his teachers.

Now 12, and with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) disorder, his mum Barbara said she has lost count of the number of times he has been restrained.

She said: “I knew that something wasn’t quite right with Daniel when he was about 18 months old. I have two older children and as a mum I just knew, but healthcare professionals made me feel like I was imagining things saying instead that he was going through the terrible twos or had separation anxiety.

“His dad died when he was five, so it coincided with the trauma he felt then too – but still I knew and yet no one listened.”

Gourlay was diagnosed with autism and PDA, when he was nine, by which time his mother says he had been labelled as a “bad kid” and a “lost cause” at school.

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Barbara, who is supporting Enable’s campaign, added: “It’s heartbreaking, especially when you know that it’s their human right to have an education, to feel safe and to feel that the adults around them care about them as an individual.”

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