Breaking bad: Regulating the responses of teachers to students' "behaviours of concern"

Dean's Lecture Series 2016

Presented by Professor Bernadette McSherry

The term ‘breaking bad,’ which originated in the American Southwest, refers to someone who defies authority or challenges convention. Many teachers have experienced challenging student behaviour, but what if that behaviour is so extreme that it puts the student or others at risk of serious harm? This presentation will outline relevant Australian laws and policy guidelines that regulate the use of ‘restrictive interventions’ in educational settings. These interventions restrict a student’s freedom of movement and can range from confinement in a room, to the use of physical force or devices.

Professor McSherry will highlight some gaps in regulation, human rights implications and the difficulty in gaining accurate data in the absence of mandatory reporting of interventions. Drawing on research from the health sector, this presentation will also outline de-escalation techniques aimed at reducing the use of restrictive interventions.

This lecture is hosted in partnership with the Melbourne Law School.

Professor Bernadette McSherry

Professor Bernadette McSherry

Foundation Director
Melbourne Social Equity Institute
The University of Melbourne

Professor Bernadette McSherry is the Foundation Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of Law, the President of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law and a legal member of the Victorian Mental Health Tribunal.

Professor McSherry has authored numerous books and articles on criminal law and mental health law, and is currently conducting research on an Australian Research Council Discovery project entitled Regulating the Use of Restraint on Persons with Disabilities: Model Laws and Guidelines.