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NSW to investigate school abuse claims

AAP logoAAP 17/08/2016 Anna Hitchings

Claims an autistic boy was kept in a cage and other disabled students were mistreated at NSW schools are being investigated by state teaching bodies.

Dozens of parents claim their disabled children were mistreated, with one 13-year-old autistic boy allegedly kept in a caged playground unsupervised at the ASPECT school in southwest Sydney.

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has referred the claims, made on ABC's 7.30 program, to the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards and the Association of Independent Schools for investigation.

The claims would also be referred to police and Family and Community Services.

"Any allegation of a child being mistreated at school is treated seriously, complainants must be treated with respect, and allegations must be investigated promptly by the appropriate schooling authority," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Opposition education spokesman Jihad Dib called for the government's investigation to be made public and a parliamentary inquiry into possible widespread abuse.

"It's clear that serious and disturbing cases of mistreatment and abuse must be investigated and responded to as a matter of high urgency rather than be put in the too-hard basket," he said in a statement.

ASPECT national director Trevor Clark has denied that 13-year-old Toby Jordan was left unsupervised.

"No teacher leaves a child with autism unsupervised no matter what situation," Dr Clark told 7.30.

"We have got a duty of care to our children - it was exercised at the time, it is very unfortunate that there was a different view about where staff were."

He also said the school carried its own investigation into the claims.

Greens MP David Shoebridge told 7.30 he and other crossbenchers had met with 30 families and some teachers claiming similar stories of mistreatment and abuse.

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