A minister has expressed disgust at revelations that a small fenced enclosure was built inside an Australian Capital Territory public school classroom in which to place a student with special needs.
Authorities said the 2m by 2m structure was made with pool fencing and looked “fairly confronting”, but they stopped short of describing it as a cage.
The ACT education minister, Joy Burch, said an independent investigation had been launched and she was horrified anyone would consider such a structure to be acceptable.
“I am immensely disappointed, disturbed and, quite frankly, disgusted that this structure was allowed in our school,” Burch said. “It is absolutely unacceptable.”
The principal has been removed from the school and placed on administrative duties in head office while the investigation is conducted. The name of the public school has not been disclosed. The ABC and Fairfax Media reported the child was a boy with autism but this could not be confirmed.
The director general of the Education and Training Directorate, Diane Joseph, said parents of children at the school had been informed.
Officials were alerted to the structure after a member of the school community raised concerns with the Human Rights Commission.