A Hunter Valley high school is under fire for not suspending a teacher who allegedly told a class that Indigenous Australians were “dole-bludgers and criminals”.
Four Indigenous students were in the Year 9 cooking class at Singleton High School when the incident happened last Tuesday
Mary Franks said when her 14-year-old daughter confronted the teacher, she was told she was “too white” to be recognised as Indigenous.
“They’d had a PowerPoint presentation on diversity in the school that morning and her teacher decided to elaborate on diversity and pretty much decided to bash Aboriginals,” Ms Franks claimed.
“She said things along the lines of ‘all Aboriginals are dole-bludgers, no-hopers, all unemployed, criminals’ and she just kept going on.”
Ms Franks said her daughter belonged to the Plains Clans of the Wonnarua People.
She said the four Indigenous students were upset and left the classroom.
“Then the teacher’s turned around and said the best thing to happen to Aboriginal people is the European colonisation,” Ms Franks said.
“My beautiful, brave 14-year-old daughter stopped at the door of the classroom … and said, ‘what you’re saying is wrong, you have no idea what it’s like to be Aboriginal, you’ve got no right to say what you’re saying’.
“To which the teacher smiled in my daughter’s face and replied: ‘Look how white you are, no one is even going to know you’re Aboriginal’.”
The Department of Education confirmed the school had received complaints that a teacher had made racist comments during a lesson.
“The complaints were immediately followed up with the school’s Anti-Racism Contact Officer and senior staff at the school,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“The school met with the family, and support was arranged for students.
“The teacher apologised to the class for her comments.”
Ms Franks said she was disappointed and frustrated the teacher was not suspended, and continued to teach for the rest of the week.
Her daughter was told she did not have to attend the class for the remainder of the term.
“That’s their response. They’re protecting the teacher and my daughter just has to sit back in the corner and shut her mouth basically,” she said.
“The teacher shouldn’t be there.”
Ms Franks said Singleton High School had several Indigenous education programs.
The Department of Education said it was still investigating the incident.
“The school prides itself on its strong history of support for Indigenous students, and the opportunities it has been able to provide for their students,” the spokesperson said.
“The school and the Department do not condone racism in any form.”