School Under Fire For Putting On A Play About Australia’s Stolen Generation!

School Under Fire For Putting On A Play About Australia’s Stolen Generation!

A primary school is New South Wales is under attack this week for putting on a school production that dared to include a piece of Australian history which some audience members found confronting and uncomfortable to watch.
Forestville Public School on Sydney’s Northern beaches presented a play called “Australia you’re standing in it” which among other scenes featured students wearing placards around their necks with the word “sorry” emblazoned on them.
Some Year six students were even dressed up as nuns and inflicted mock emotional and physical abuse onto “Aboriginal” children who were representing the stolen generation.
A statement in the school newsletter read: “We were pleased to see that at last the truth is being taught about Australia’s ‘discovery’ by Captain Cook as well as the ‘truth’ about our treatment of the stolen generation”.

Following criticism from members of the school community, the NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes, spoke out saying he was “aware of concerns in the community about content covered in a recent student concert” and requested a “full report from the Department of Education on what occurred”.

“While acknowledging the event was well intentioned, I wish to apologise to anyone who was offended by any of the performance,” he said.

Some parents at the school weren’t happy to see their kids being used as ‘political pawns’ and expressed their disgust at the play’s content and theme.

Mr. Slater, a father of a 5 year old kindergarten student said: “It’s a great school but this was serious misjudgment; little children should not be exposed to that,” Mr Slater said. “At certain stages I walked out, I didn’t want to watch it to be honest. It’s inappropriate to push a political agenda on children.”

He said one of the segments had children carrying placards saying sorry and other children crying to Simon & Garfunkel song The Sound of Silence.

“They are very impressionable young children,” Mr Slater said. “It was bloody disgraceful. I don’t think using five, six or seven-year-old kids is appropriate to push your own political agenda.”

Another parent however was pleased to see the children being educated on what really happened during the invasion of Australia by Captain Cook. This is the comment he left about Mr. Slater’s comments which appeared in the Daily Telegraph:

“As a parent of the school, and someone who watched the play 3 times, please allow me to share some facts; Mr Slater’s child, a kindergarten student, was in fact not in the room at the time of the scene in question – the stolen generation scene. His child played a penguin, and once his performance was finished, he returned to a classroom, as did all other children with the exception if those on stage being year 5 & 6 students.

The performance was delivered to PARENTS.

Last year the Department of Education staged a School Spectacular, performed by over 6000 NSW School Students. A very similar scene about the stolen generation was also included, and sorry signs were also used in this performance.

The children have already been taught all aspects of what was portrayed in the play as it is part of Australian’s history AND the school curriculum.

I am proud to be a Forestville Public School parent. I am proud of the staff and the students and I am proud to be part of a community who teaches our children about the history of Australia. Mr. Slater’s opinions are not supported by the wider Forestville community.”

What do you think? Was the subject matter too political for primary school or is it simply a part of Australian history that children need to be taught?

Photos: Daily Telegraph

 

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