Parents seek end to racism at a multicultural Australian school

The indigenous and ethnic community leaders in Shepparton are planning to meet this week to resolve racial tensions.

The Age reports that these racial tensions were triggered after a spate of violent and racist incidents at the town’s secondary college.

In a scathing report obtained by the ABC, Greater Shepparton Secondary College (students and staff included) was “complicit” in the racism experienced by students.

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The report was Commissioned by the Department of Education and Training after a series of race-related incidents.

Surprisingly, a very similar recommendation was made to the school in a report written by cross-cultural consultant Georgia Birch.

According to the ABC, this report was presented to the school in November last year but has not been publicly released.

David Howes, the Deputy Secretary of Schools and Regional Services, said:

“The challenges that the school faces are the challenges that the broader community faces and what is happening outside the school does impact what does happen inside the school.”

Despite its diverse cultural mix of students and people living in the area, GSSC has ‘an all-white leadership and all-white teaching teams.’

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Meredith Peace, the President of the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union, said in a statement:

“Media reports in relation to the Department of Education’s report suggest there are significant issues that would concern our members and the school community.”

According to the Age, the school’s acting executive principal Barbara O’Brien has addressed the report’s “confronting” findings in a note to staff and also written to parents requesting them not to inflame tensions or spread misinformation on social media. 

This multicultural school has more than 2000 students which include almost 600 students from multicultural or Aboriginal backgrounds.

Shepparton, a city located on the floodplain of the Goulburn River in northern Victoria, has a good number of Indians living in the area from both North and South India.