No room for racism in schools. Aboriginal kids shouldn’t have to take on racist teachers!

No room for racism in schools. Aboriginal kids shouldn’t have to take on racist teachers!

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My name is Scott, I’m a proud Wonnarua man. Recently, my 14-year old niece Alaura had to stand up to her racist high school teacher who made some shocking, ignorant comments about Aboriginal people in front of the entire class. It breaks my heart to see the next generation have to educate racist Australians, and I think it has no place in the classroom. That’s why I want to see the school system commit to change.

The moment between my niece and her teacher made the news. It took place at Singleton High School by a teacher towards several Aboriginal students. After a presentation on diversity, this teacher took it upon herself to make comments about Indigenous Australians living in state housing and taking money from the government. The same old stereotypes.

In the midst of what’s happening right now with Black Lives Matter, four Indigenous students in the class, including my niece, became upset and left the classroom. But then Alaura turned back and walked into the classroom and told the teacher that she needed to understand why those comments were so upsetting.

Alaura came back to try and help the teacher see why her comments were so hurtful. When my 14-year-old niece confronted the teacher, she was told by the teacher, in front of everyone, that the best thing to happen to Aboriginal people is the European colonisation.

So hurtful, and so unnecessary. The teacher then questioned my niece’s right to claim heritage as a young Wonnarua woman because she was "too white" looking to be recognised as Indigenous.

The teacher in question confirmed that the allegations were true and correct by apologising for the outrageous statements. The Department of Education has confirmed the school had received complaints that a teacher had made racist comments during a lesson.

But that’s the end of it. Now, Alaura and the other Aboriginal students have to go back into this classroom, with no support and no commitment from the school to properly fix this systemic issue.

Further to this, the high school principal allowed the teacher to remain at the school and continue to teach. The Aboriginal student that raised the issue was advised that she could attend the school girls academy or wait until that class was over then return to her normal classes.

This action places the high school principal in an untenable position. The principal has failed to comply with the NSW Department of Education regulations regarding anti-discrimination

We strongly request that the NSW Department of Education contact all of the families affected by this event and provide all appropriate support, including but not limited to ongoing counselling.

We also demand that all staff at Singleton High School make contact with the Plains Clans of the Wonnarua People Aboriginal Corporation to undertake a cultural awareness training.

This is a big problem to fix, but we can’t put the burden of change on a 14-year-old girl. Alaura shouldn’t have to stand up to a racist teacher in the place where she is supposed to be learning and growing. This teacher needs to be the one who is taught a lesson, and it should be up to the school system to do it.

Please, stand with my brave niece and sign and share this petition.