Federation rejects racism

Federation urges all members to actively work towards the elimination of racism in every classroom, playground, staff room and school community.

Victims of racism may regularly experience fear, or feel intimidated, angry, unwelcome and unworthy; the physical and psycho-social eff ects can be harmful and ongoing. Long-term eff ects of racism felt by generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, along with migrants, refugees and persecuted minority groups from all over the world are well documented.

When racism exists in a learning environment, the balance of educational success and attendance is disrupted, limiting the learning and social outcomes of those students aff ected by it,” states the Department of Education’s Anti- Racism Education Advice for Schools.

That is why schools have the responsibility to foster student wellbeing and community harmony, to provide teaching and learning programs that promote positive relationships, and to develop intercultural understanding. Furthermore, schools must develop inclusive practices that respect diff ering cultural, religious, and linguistic backgrounds.

The Department’s Anti-Racism Policy commits to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination in NSW Government schools. It applies to all NSW Public School employees and students and has implications for each school community.”

The policy stipulates that all schools have the responsibility to eliminate direct and indirect racism, challenge the attitudes that allow vilifi cation and harassment, and ensure that sanctions are applied against racist and discriminatory behaviours.

Silence and denial are the two major impediments to countering racism in society. To eff ectively counter racism, antiracism education strategies need to be implemented across the full range of school activities, from whole-school to specifi c teaching and learning in the classroom.

Effective actions need to comprehensively address three dimensions of the Department’s Anti-Racism Policy: promoting acceptance of and respect for Australia’s cultural, linguistic and religious diversity; challenging prejudiced attitudes; and ensuring sanctions are applied against racist and discriminatory behaviours.

Every school must have a nominated Anti-Racism Contact Offi cer (ARCO) and this is the responsibility of the principal. The ARCO should be an experienced teacher, who will have three main roles: complaints support, education and monitoring. It’s essential that all teaching and non-teaching staff recognise racism and that professional learning opportunities are provided for this purpose. The Department’s Anti-Racism Policy Training course is now mandatory for all staff from 2022. A range of anti-racism and multicultural education professional learning programs are also available for school staff , students and community, via the Multicultural Education portal and for teachers, via MyPL.

To assist members Federation has resources available on our website at www.nswtf.org.au.