Tuesday, May 4, 2004

School cage case given all clear?

The caged enclosure used to control an intellectually disabled student at a Perth school was necessary and appropriate, Education Minister Alan Carpenter said yesterday after receiving an independent report on the case of 12-year-old Neil Moore.

Mr Carpenter said leading child psychologist Jay Birnbrauer had found the Kenwick School's efforts to control Neil were justified and that the school had not breached its duty of care.

The Australian Newspaper revealed in February that Neil had repeatedly been locked in the purpose-built caged enclosure for up to 90 minutes at a time.

The enclosure, referred to school staff as the "quiet garden", comprised an area of unshaded grass surrounded on three sides by 3m-high cyclone fencing with a wooden bench but no access to water or toilet facilities.

It was used intermittently until last September but remained at the school until February this year, despite repeated complaints to the Education Department by Neil's grandmother and guardian Sheila Simons.

Mr Carpenter ordered an independent review of the case, which saw Dr Birnbrauer begin interviews in March.

In his report tabled in parliament yesterday, Dr Birnbrauer said the school may have been negligent had it not used the enclosed facility to control Neil.

Although conceding the enclosure was unusual, he said it was acceptable given that everyone interviewed had agreed Neil's rage behaviour was difficult to predict.

Ms Simons said she was "extremely disappointed" at Dr Birnbrauer's findings and outraged that the minister had concluded the enclosure was justified.

By Trauma 7 May 04

THE CHICKEN: Corporal punishment for children is never justified and children locked in cages is corporal punishment.

THE EGG: International No-Smacking Day April 30 2004, The only defence a child has is fear. If you raise your voice to a child by one decibel you raise fear in a child. Any other type of punishment above and beyond raising your voice will cause a child trauma. Locking a child up in their room is actually severe punishment in relation to raising your voice and a cage is not only severe but also degrading and inhumane.

Dover Mental Cage

When we got to our next intended stop-the Dover Mental Cage-we got a disappointing shock. The Cage is no more!! Yep, that's right, the famous strange Dover, NJ landmark is gone, nothing remains in the empty spot where it once stood besides a few scraps of rusted old metal and a flattened clearing. The pics on this page are older pics which were actually shot last year, the last time Markus & I went out there

Legend says that this sinister-looking Cage, which used to be found in a patch of woods in Hurd Park, out behind St. Clare's Hospital, was used to lock up the most incorrigible criminally insane patients from the hospital. It was said that the angry spirits of the patients who suffered this cruel and unusual incarceration still haunted the Cage, just waiting for anyone foolish enough to step inside the inescapable iron bars with them. Indeed, we shot a picture of it that seems to have an unexplained, unexpected subject (pic, below right) check out the weird misty, ectoplasm-y shape in front of the Cage, complete with orb!

Detention centre media ban criticised

The Howard Government has been criticised in a report by media freedom advocate Reporters Without Borders for stopping journalists covering the conditions in refugee detention centres.


Queensland punishes disabled children kept in cages
TONY EASTLEY: Still in Queensland, and there are disturbing new allegations about disabled children having suffered extraordinary abuse in private residential care facilities.

Central Europe: Mentally ill kept in padlocked, caged beds
Cental Europe: Patients are sometimes locked in cages like the ones above for months or years, says the Budapest based Mental Disability Advocacy Centre Credit: MDAC.