Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today spoken out against new Scottish government guidelines which enable the use of physical restraint in schools, even when dealing with young people who have additional support needs.
The draft guidelines include the use of the face down “prone” restraint, which experts have already advised can be fatal. The Children’s Commissioner for Scotland, Bruce Adamson, has indicated that the restraint is never acceptable under any circumstance.
In 2019, Mr Adamson took the Scottish government to court for proposals, arguing that existing guidelines were inconsistent and incoherent. The Scottish government subsequently formed a working group to create new guidelines, which were expected last year but have been repeatedly delayed. These proposals have now been criticised by the group who were involved in creating them.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said,
“These draft guidelines are a direct violation of children’s human rights. They will cause irreparable harm for some of the most vulnerable children in Scotland.
“Parents like Kate Sanger and Beth Morrison have been clear that restraint can traumatise children for life. The government was asked to reconsider their approach in 2019, but, once again, they have fallen disappointingly short. The SNP are starving children and young people of the dignity they merit.
“The Scottish Liberal Democrats have always campaigned against the use of restraint, championing and defending children’s rights. The First Minister cannot wash her hands of this. She must instruct her officials to change course and ensure that the guidelines treat children with basic respect, basic fairness and basic humanity.”