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Teacher stood down

Protests at school averted

Science teacher Jason Wong gave a speech at a pro-Palestinian demonstration recently at which he said, "Hamas was doing exactly what they have to do."

Prahran High School. Photo: Google Street View
Prahran High School. Photo: Google Street View

Rival demonstrations outside a Melbourne school this week involving pro- and anti-Israel groups will not go ahead.

A teacher at Prahran High School has been stood down over remarks he made praising Hamas.

Science teacher Jason Wong gave a speech at a pro-Palestinian demonstration recently at which he said, “Hamas was doing exactly what they have to do.”

In response, activist group the Unsilent Majority was going to protest at the school before students returned to class, but now say they don’t have to. Spokesperson Sharon Mason applauded the Department of Education for its courage and commitment to student welfare.

Pro-Palestinian group Unionists for Palestine announced on social media that they would stage a counter-demonstration outside the school on Wednesday. They are calling for “an end to the Department of Education’s harassment and victimisation of Jason in relation to his support for Palestine”.

The group has since changed the location of the event to the Department of Education building in the CBD.

A Department of Education spokesperson said, “Schools should not be used as sites for political demonstrations. We continue to remind all staff in government schools of their professional obligations and the importance of ensuring all in our school communities are treated with respect, understanding and sensitivity.”

Zionism Victoria executive director Zeddy Lawrence said, “That there are those who support the most heinous acts of terrorism and that such people could be allowed to educate our children, turning our classrooms into forums for hate and barbarity, reveals a moral sickness that is infecting every part of our society.”

Mason said the significant outcome was a teacher has finally been disciplined for making political statements.

“Last Monday Teachers for Palestine held a seminar at the Victorian Trades Hall to learn how to ‘infect the classroom’. They were given a lot of advice about how they should go against (Victorian Education Minister) Ben Carroll’s explicit advice and instructions not to bring their politics and personal beliefs into the classroom” she said.

Mason said teachers at that event were told that no disciplinary action has ever occurred against a teacher for showing solidarity to Palestine.

“Now, that is no longer the case,” she said.

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