Hekia Parata needs to come clean on seclusion rooms

Education Minister Hekia Parata needs to come clean with Kiwi parents about exactly how many state schools are using seclusion rooms, if any, and how long she’s known about them, the Green Party said today

While responding to Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty during Question Time today, the Minister admitted that eight special schools are currently using seclusion rooms, and that the Ministry is currently surveying all state schools to see how many are also currently using them.

“Hekia Parata needs to immediately direct all schools to stop using seclusion rooms, regardless of whether they’re a state school or a special school,” said Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

“Parents should not have to wait for the Ministry of Education’s survey to be completed – the Minister should issue a blanket order for them to be decommissioned immediately.

“It took a public outcry over the use of seclusion rooms at Miramar Central School for Minister Parata to even start to act on this issue – other parents should not have to wait for that long to know whether their child’s school is using seclusion rooms as well.

“In response to written questions from the Green Party, the Minister revealed that she has known about Miramar Central School using a seclusion room since July 28. Between then and September 20, the room was used more than one a week, on 13 more occasions.

“As soon as the Minister knew about the seclusion room at Miramar Central School, on July 28, she should have acted to decommission it.

“For 18 months, possibly even longer, the Minister has known about the usage of seclusion rooms in Aotearoa. She says that she has been working on guidelines, but these guidelines will not stop children being mistreated and kept in seclusion rooms.

“Guidelines for how to abuse children are abhorrent, and the Minister knows that. Her proposed guidelines will only legitimise the usage of seclusion, it won’t stop the use of seclusion,” said Ms Delahunty.

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