Recently I was involved in a discussion about racism in Australia and it made me stop and reflect on our own local context and how well we articulate and educate students about the various forms of racism. We do know that Australia has a culture of denial when it comes to racism. Denial of racism in Australia perpetuates racist behaviour. Speaking up reduces racism by helping perpetrators understand that their views are in the minority, making them less likely to engage in prejudice and stereotyping behaviour. While the data is a little dated, in the 2015-2016 the Challenging Racism Project National Survey found 2 in 5 people living in Australia have been a target of verbal racial abuse and being treated less respectfully is the most common form of racism. Racial discrimination can occur either directly or indirectly and includes casual racism which refers to conduct involving negative stereotypes or prejudices about people on the basis of race, colour or ethnicity. Examples include jokes, off-handed comments, and exclusion of people from social situations on the basis of race.
Saint Marcellin Champagnat word’s “We must love them and love them all equally”. Applies not only to our staff in dealing with our young people, but to each of us both staff and students within our community. As a College and community we strive always to create a safe and inclusive school culture that fosters acceptance and respect for diversity. In doing so, we seek to deepen understanding and knowledge, promote the wellbeing of everyone and help everyone achieve their full potential. Our School is enriched by and celebrates the diversity of our whole school community, our Mission statement talks about relationships that are characterised by a mutuality of respect. Therefore as a College, as good Christians and Good Citizens we reject all forms of racist behaviour and we are committed to the elimination of racial discrimination (including direct and indirect racism, racial vilification and harassment) in our community, our curriculum and our learning and working environment. Our school is committed to ensuring that individuals and groups are not disadvantaged because of their race, culture, ethnicity, nationality or religious background.
Often young people make jokes about others, even friends, sometimes about appearance or race, it is important that we identify this and remind them that this is not OK and despite it not being obvious, it is often hurtful and damaging especially over time.
As you expect and understand the College takes any form of harassment, discrimination, bullying or racism very seriously. If you have any concerns or complaints at any time please do not hesitate to contact the College immediately.
This week, we conducted another first where we held the College Captain’s Speeches which are part of the leadership process via zoom. I was so proud of these students who have put their hands up to lead our student body through the remainder of an uncertain 2020 and hopefully into a more normal 2021. It was exciting to hear them talk about their vision in building on the wonderful Marist Culture and rich heritage that already exists in our College, and to hear them articulate what it truly means to serve. Our new leaders will be announced shortly and we will stream the Leadership Handover Ceremony for families.
A reminder that if you are having any financial hardships that are impacting on payment of school fees, please contact the College so that we can assist through this very challenging time.
I thank you for your continued support during the COVID -19 pandemic. Our additional care has resulted in less absenteeism due to the usual flu and cold season.
Yours in Jesus, Mary and Saint Marcellin
Mrs Angela Hay