Let's Talk: Did this school make the right decision?

School funding

A primary school in Melbourne has been slammed for reportedly allowing Muslim students leave assembly before the school sang the national anthem.

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It is currently Muharram, the traditional Islamic month of mourning, and Shi’a Muslims do not partake in joyous events such as singing, Sky News reports.

Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School Principal Cheryl Irving conformed that, “Prior to last week’s Years 2-6 assembly, in respect of this religious observance, students were given the opportunity to leave the hall before music was played.

“The students then rejoined the assembly at the conclusion of the music,” she said.

Media reports today are saying the children “walked out on the National Anthem” however the reality is more complicated than that.

In an effort to run a truly multi-cultural school, the principal made the decision to let the children leave the hall, if they wanted to, and she has been backed up by the Department of Education.

“The Department supports our schools to be inclusive for all students, this includes understanding or respecting religious cultural observances,” a statement issued to the Herald Sun reads.

Islamic Council of Victoria secretary Kuranda Seyit said, “People need to remember that these Muslim children are not against the Australian national anthem but are not allowed to be deemed to be celebrating.”

However, Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie told Seven news, “I find these schools that are allowing this to happen disgusting.”

“We should all be proud to be Australians and proud to sing the national anthem,” she told the Herald Sun.

One woman who was watching her two grandchildren’s assembly at the school said she felt affronted when 30 or so students walked out of the hall.

“A teacher came forward and said all those who feel it’s against their culture may leave the room,” she said.

“I felt ‘you don’t walk out on my national anthem’.”


Let’s talk: how do you think you would have reacted to this happening in your grandchildren’s school? Would you respect the Islamic tradition or expect the students to sing the anthem? Do you think the school has made the right decision to let this happen?