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Submission to the National

Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention from

Chatswood

Intensive English Centre


10th April,

2002

Chatswood IEC has students from between 15 to 25 language groups at any

one time. We have only a small number of children from detention centres,

possibly because of our relatively privileged socio-economic intake area.

However, all staff members have observed a clear difference between the

behaviour, performance and general well being of ex detention centre children

and all our other students. It should be noted that this difference remains

clear between ex detention centre children and children from the same

part of the world who have not been in detention. The difference also

remains true for ex detention centre children and children who have come

from war torn countries, or children who have not been in detention but

who come from groups, such as the Bahai religious group in Iran, who are

known to have been the object of persecution in their country. The following

are observations made by the staff in the course of our work and discussed

at a meeting on the 9/04/02.


CHILDREN WHO HAVE BEEN IN

DETENTION:

  • don't conform

    to the expected norms of classroom behaviour, show signs of emotional

    upset and impaired ability to learn, although they test normal or above

    intelligence.

  • have an unusually

    short attention span

  • may interrupt

    class with questions unrelated to the lesson and expect an immediate

    answer, then become agitated if they don't get it.

  • need constant

    attention from teachers, need teachers to be there for them regardless

    of the rest of the class. This is extremely noticeable.

  • are restless,

    can't sit through lessons, jump out of seats, need to walk around.

  • make contradictory

    statements.

  • can have suppressed

    anger, can be exceptionally short fused with minimal provocation.

  • exhibit fear of

    authority eg. react with fear to words like "detention", "police",

    "go to the office", sometimes "beg" not to go if

    they are in trouble.

  • one case has

    a nervous tick.

  • are frequently

    sick. Also complain of pains, eg. one student is known to have lain

    on the ground in pain while waiting at a bus stop.

  • have mood swings

    (more than other children), are "up and down"


CHILDREN WHO COME FROM THE SAME PART OF THE WORLD BUT WHO HAVE NOT BEEN

IN DETENTION:

  • all teachers

    observed that they fall within the normal range of learners from anywhere

    else in the world, from exceptionally gifted to average or sometimes

    slow learners.

  • these children

    are able to concentrate "normally" for their age, are more

    steady, able to sit through a lesson.

  • not generally

    "up and down" emotionally.

  • are able to conform

    to the expected norms of classroom behaviour.

Signed by the following Chatswood IEC teachers:

David Chadwick,

Teacher of English and History

Heather Lung,

Music and English

Teacher

Fiona Vatiliotis,

English Teacher

Jane Cantwell,

English Teacher and SRC Co-ordinator

Janis Brodie Grant,

English and Geography Teacher

Despina Londy,

English Teacher

Fabia Claridge,

English Teachers

Loretta Lin,

English Teachers

Kui Conabere,

Head Teacher,Chatswood IEC

Last

Updated 30 June 2003.