This is the cage at the centre of what has turned into a national debate over how schools are supposed to deal with children with extreme behaviour.
For the ACT, which has for decades prided itself on a progressive education system that consistently tops the nation in results, it's a particularly unedifying chapter in our once proud history.
For this is certainly a shocking image. It looks every bit a prison cell, or perhaps a cage for a large and menacing animal.
But it was built for a child. A 10-year-old boy with autism, who is believed to have been a danger to staff and who needed a safe space in which to calm down.
The process behind which this cage came to be built in a Canberra school has been investigated in an inquiry whose report was published on Tuesday.
But it was narrow in its scope and does not fully address any of the major, long-term and systemic issues that face the families, teachers, learning assistants and school communities for whom challenging behaviours are a daily event.
In this instance, the principal was deemed the sole decision-maker when she allocated $5,195 of school funding to the cage and called in an independent contractor to build it.
She has been made an example of, with Director-General of the ACT Education Directorate Diane Joseph emphatic that she has lost her job as a principal and will not return to any Canberra school.
But the chain of command was flawed within the directorate itself, and bureaucrats who failed to either act on, or escalate, preliminary reports of a cage in a classroom must also face serious sanction.
Let's not lose sight of the fact those blue metal bars stood erect for 17 days while the school functioned as normal, while the directorate oversaw the school system and while children were entrusted into the care of paid staff around the city.
No one can believe that that is acceptable.
Similarly, it is just as unacceptable that a teacher, or other students, should ever face ongoing threats of violence from a student.
Quite understandably, the school community at the centre of the crisis has been shattered. Parents have been dismayed by a lack of transparency around the cage and the inquiry, and were only for the first time formally notified that it was their school in a letter on Tuesday.
Recriminations over who knew what and when have eroded the school's community cohesion and parental trust in staff.
Whoever is hired to replace the original decision-maker will have their work cut out.
Now, the only ray of hope from the events of the past six months lies with Tony Shaddock.
An internationally esteemed and emeritus professor of special needs education, Shaddock is reviewing how ACT schools approach all students with complex and challenging needs.
From legislative and policy frameworks, to guidelines and protocols – and with a focus on the vexed issue of withdrawal spaces and exclusion – the Shaddock Review has the potential to peel back the layers on a system that is clearly struggling to cope with the rise of student behavioural challenges.
This issue is more than one principal's mistaken belief that one child could be managed within one cage. This is about ever-increasing numbers of students with complex special needs putting pressure on mainstream classrooms and specialised learning units. This is everyone's issue.
The cage has been a shocking wake-up call, but the ACT can only prove real educational leadership if it learns from its mistakes and ensures school communities are able to manage the needs of all children as a matter of course - without compromising the liberty of a few.