Teachers who wear this T-shirt could risk disciplinary action

A group of “GREEN activist” Queensland teachers are preparing to wear T-shirts to protest the Government’s asylum-seeker camps. However, Federal
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Teachers who wear this t-shirt could risk disciplinary action.

A group of “GREEN activist” Queensland teachers are preparing to wear T-shirts to protest the Government’s asylum-seeker camps. However, Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham has warned they could face disciplinary action if they go ahead with their plans. Mr Birmingham last night wrote to his state counterpart Kate Jones urging her to crack down on a planned protest by the Queensland-based organisation, Teachers for Refugees and People Seeking Asylum, reports Courier-Mail.

The pro-refugee advocacy group which is linked to both the Queensland Teachers’ Union and Independent Education Union, declared it was standing in solidarity with hundreds of Victorian colleagues, who announced they would come to school next year dressed in “close the camps” T-shirts.

The warning comes after QTU president Kevin Bates confirms preparations were already under way to print similar T-shirts for hundreds of Queensland teachers to wear when school resumes.

In the letter, obtained by The Courier-Mail, Mr Birmingham requests Ms Jones ensure state school teachers are aware of the requirements contained in their enterprise bargaining agreements and code of conduct around not behaving politically in schools, and are reminded of the “consequences that stem from an abuse of those responsibilities”.

He said the behaviour was especially concerning as two major international reports released in the past fortnight showed Australia’s education achievements had dropped.

“Teachers’ demonstration of personal political views on any governments’ policies and, in this instance, specifically on the Australian Government’s border policies, oversteps the line of the teacher’s role to teach,” Mr Birmingham says.

“In my view, this represents an abuse of their position by promoting their own personal views in the classroom.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton went further calling them “green activists parading as teachers” and said they should “keep their politics out of the classroom”.

“Programs like Safe Schools and refugee brainwashing sessions don’t help our kids,” Mr Dutton said.

Ms Jones last night said her Government had guidelines in place around appropriate conduct and clothing for teachers.

“I think most parents would expect teachers to comply with those guidelines,” she said.

Mr Bates dismissed criticisms that it was not the role of classroom teachers to protest political decisions, declaring they had a responsibility to be role models.

“Teachers understand we are role models and it is very important to demonstrate what we think is appropriate behaviour,” he said. “We are looking at such an action sometime next year. There are discussions about this happening around World Harmony Day in February,” he said.

Teachers who wear this t-shirt could risk disciplinary action.
Teachers who wear this t-shirt could risk disciplinary action.

What do you think of this move? Is it fair? What is the best way to handle it, in your opinion?

  1. Pamela  

    Not acceptable in schools!

    But I do believe we should close the camps and send them back to where they came from!

  2. John  

    Teachers are there to teach in an unbiased way, presenting both sides of any discussion. Teach kids how to listen and make up their own open minds without being pre coloured by teachers.
    Teachers are a bit like google as kids will always belief that teachers are right because they said so.

  3. As a retired teacher I support their stance. My advice to Birmingham is that you should stay out of this otherwise you are being hypocritical. ie politicising education. From my perspective teachers are always at the forefront of social change.

    • Ted Jaeger  

      I might agree if they could teach the three R’s, instead of turning out illiterate morons who can’t read, write or do simple maths! They are paid to teach, not to push their individual beliefs on children! Together with their teaching inadequacies, most of them dress like homeless people! And you are a role model? What a joke!

      • Wiso  

        Absolutely agree Ted !!

        Teachers are there to teach academics not politics !! Nor socially engineer a generation of our children !!

        If they want to protest or take a stance then enter politics themselves or protest in their own time, not taxpayer funded time when they should be focussed on academic outcomes for our own children.

        Sack the lot of them !!

        • Robert Green  

          I agree. Teachers are there to teach not push their beliefs on young, or for that matter any, students. If one of my children were in a class like theirs I would be seeking redress and the dismissal of the teacher.

          Get back in front of the whiteboard, stick to the three r’s and leave your lefty attitudes at the door.

  4. charlie  

    Teachers mould the minds of children. I believe the teachers views, are the teachers view. If more attention was on teaching children to read and write and leave their personal thoughts outside the classroom so much the better.,Do I agree with this move , or course I dont. Maybe its time to look at the type of teacher thats teaching our children

  5. Maybe Mr Dutton would like to extend this opinion to banning religious indoctrination in public secular schools too. I expect that’s not the case though. Of course we should exercise care with regard to who we allow into the country, but our government’s treatment of many of these people has been abominable.

  6. Sue Currie  

    Hypocrites! Where were the t-shirts when over 1000 people (that we know of) died at sea trying to get here, not to mention the thousands in detention centres and 2000 children in detention. It is inappropriate to peddle teachers’ political views to their students.

  7. Elizabeth Litster  

    Not acceptable. Keep your politics out of the classroom and try actually doing some teaching. Australian education standards are slipping

  8. Murray  

    Teachers should teach. They have an obligation to present both-sides of an issue but they shouldn’t be promoting either side for just political reasons.

  9. Claire  

    Keep the political opinions out of school if they can wear the t shirts then people with opposing views should be allowed to present their views to the children as well, so they get both sides. I would prefer that they educate the children in maths,science and literacy and leave the rest to the parents.

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