Faith-based bullying

Partnership making NSW schools safer

The proposed partnership will improve Holocaust education and aims to stamp out antisemitism in schools.

A landmark partnership aims to make schools a safer place for students and staff. Photo: Sedrik2007 /Dreamstime.
A landmark partnership aims to make schools a safer place for students and staff. Photo: Sedrik2007 /Dreamstime.

A landmark partnership proposing best practice teaching of the Holocaust in all NSW schools, as well as additional training to combat antisemitism and religious discrimination, has been welcomed by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD).

The 10-year partnership between a re-elected NSW Liberal and Nationals government and the state’s religious communities aims to make schools in NSW a safer space for all students and staff.

Following concerns of antisemitic and faith-based bullying, the government will bring the Department of Education, Multicultural NSW and the Religious Communities Advisory Council (RCAC) together in continuing to stamp out racism, religious intolerance and discrimination.

The proposed partnership is the second major outcome of the newly formed RCAC, of which JBD CEO Darren Bark is a founding member.

JBD president David Ossip said, “This proposed partnership is a historic and significant moment for victims of religious bullying in schools across our state.

“Schools are supposed to be one of the safest spaces for our children. The sad reality is that we regularly hear harrowing stories about students – and their teachers – being bullied simply because of their background.

“This partnership will go a long way in helping students leave school with greater respect, understanding and acceptance of their peers, and ensure that racism and hate is not amplified and felt at universities, in workplaces and in broader society.

“Shockingly, one in four Australians have little to no knowledge of the Holocaust. If we do not learn the lessons of history, we are destined to repeat them. The only way to address this is through meaningful and effective education about the horrors of the past.”

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the proposed partnership would reflect the constructive relationship the NSW Liberal and Nationals government has had with faith communities over many years.

“Our faith communities play a vital role in NSW, including in our school system, and so it is fantastic we have been able to make a commitment to this partnership to continue our collaborative work on such important issues,” Mitchell said.

“No students or staff should face discrimination or bullying, including based on their faith.”

Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure said, “School is a formative time for young people, and we want to ensure that students are guided to understand the impacts of racism, hatred and religious intolerance.

“By highlighting the dangers of hate and promoting harmony, we can foster a new generation of leaders that can help steer NSW towards becoming an even more successful multicultural and ­multi-faith society.”

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