Lessons in sur­ren­der at Ji­hadi State Pri­mary

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - DEVINE MI­RANDA

ONE statis­tic that should send a shiver down your spine is that almost all the young ji­hadists who have been rad­i­calised in Aus­tralia have been ed­u­cated at gov­ern­ment schools, not re­li­gious schools.

Our po­lit­i­cally cor­rect, fem­i­nised pub­lic school sys­tem now cre­ates a vac­uum of val­ues and cer­tainty that is fail­ing teach­ers and stu­dents alike. It is fer­tile ground for pro­pa­gan­dists, whether Is­lamists tak­ing over Ara­bic lan­guage Ko­ranic scrip­ture classes in schools or the cul­tural rel­a­tivism of the ABC’s “Be­hind the News” ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram which is screened in class.

This is why we should heed the warn­ings of coura­geous Mrs A, a for­mer teacher of Punch­bowl Pub­lic School, who says that Mus­lim stu­dents as young as 10 are show­ing signs of early rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion which is be­ing ig­nored by au­thor­i­ties and cre­at­ing a tick­ing time bomb for the fu­ture.

Un­til she was hounded out of the pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim school in Syd­ney’s south­west two years ago, Mrs A was forced to stand by help­lessly as stu­dents brought ISIS-style flags to school, made threat­en­ing “be­head­ing” ges­tures to her, wrote abu­sive graf­fiti about her fam­ily, bailed her up to chant the Ko­ran in Ara­bic in her face, and de­manded she re­move the cross around her neck.

She claims her com­plaints were not taken se­ri­ously by the prin­ci­pal or the depart­ment, and that the school’s ab­surdly in­ef­fec­tive disciplinary pro­ce­dures dis­em­pow­ered teach­ers.

“There was phys­i­cal vi­o­lence, abuse of teach­ers and abuse of each other,” she said. “I’m talk­ing kids bash­ing each other with closed fists … and it was get­ting worse.”

Ten­sions es­ca­lated in 2014 when ISIS was ram­pag­ing across Syria and Iraq.

“It was Mus­lim on Chris­tian, and Mus­lim on Mus­lim be­cause some are Sunni and some are Shia. You had cousins fight­ing each other be­cause their fam­i­lies were fight­ing.

“There were also some re­ally good Mus­lim kids that were very re­spect­ful (and) just wanted to come to school and learn.”

But those good stu­dents, too, were vic­tims, be­cause lit­tle learn­ing was pos­si­ble amid the chaos, as can be seen from stag­nant, sub­par NAPLAN scores. Mrs A thinks she was tar­geted be­cause of the cross she wore around her neck. “Stu­dents didn’t like it. (They would say) ‘Miss, your cross is of­fen­sive. Take it off. Why are you wear­ing a cross for?’”

The 46-year-old blonde mother-of-two, who grew up in Bankstown, and taught in the area for a decade, said she be­came “so jit­tery” be­fore class she was “tak­ing deep breaths and won­der­ing what will to­day hold for me.

“I was a ner­vous wreck … It wasn’t just the fact of what the kids were do­ing, it was (school lead­ers) sec­ond-guess­ing the teach­ers,” she said.

She also claims at least three teach­ers took stress leave and re­ceived coun­selling.

“Th­ese kids were abus­ing the crap out of us,” she said.

Mrs A made pub­lic her com­plaints anony­mously in the Daily Tele­graph in March and last week re­vealed her face on Mark Latham’s Out­siders Face­book show.

She has since pro­duced doc­u­ments to back up her claims, in­clud­ing more than 200 in­ci­dent re­ports logged in the “Well­be­ing” sec­tion of the school’s “Sen­tral” com­puter data­base in 2014.

They tell the story of a group of trou­bled boys, aged be­tween 10 and 12, big for their age, abus­ing teach­ers, fight­ing and threat­en­ing each other with scis­sors, kick­ing sand in girls’ faces, call­ing girls “dog”, and banned from the can­teen for be­ing ”con­stantly rude (and try­ing) to steal food from the counter”.

The re­ports also tell a story of ab­sent fa­thers, and dis­con­nected mothers busy with large fam­i­lies.

While bad be­hav­iour was learned at home, Mrs A says the school “re­in­forced” it by strip­ping class­room teach­ers of author­ity with a disciplinary sys­tem called “Work­ing it out”.

This op­er­ated as a lunchtime kan­ga­roo court in which stu­dents and teach­ers were sent slips of pa­per from the of­fice with an ap­pointed time to turn up and put their case.

Ex­ec­u­tive teach­ers would sit as me­di­a­tors hear­ing both sides and then tell teacher and stu­dent to “work it out”.

In­stead of met­ing out im­me­di­ate pun­ish­ments for bad be­hav­iour, teach­ers had to en­gage in this drawn out cha­rade of “restora­tive jus­tice”.

Mrs A said teach­ers felt they were be­ing pun­ished and “the kids loved it. They were laugh­ing at us. Our kids had worked out it was giv­ing them the power”.

In the end, teach­ers turned their backs on play­ground fights, un­able to in­ter­vene and know­ing it was point­less to fol­low up. “Kids’ be­hav­iour was get­ting worse. It was es­ca­lat­ing,” she said.

Ca­sual teach­ers would come to the school and leave af­ter a day. But with an over­sup­ply of 40,000 teach­ers in NSW un­able to se­cure a per­ma­nent job, Mrs A says col­leagues were fright­ened to make waves.

“If you com­plained you got no ref­er­ence. You have to toe the school line,” she said.

The pic­ture she paints is of anx­ious, un­der-par­ented boys latch­ing on to a dimly un­der­stood Is­lam as a sym­bol of re­bel­lion and power. Add pro­gres­sive, lais­sez faire teach­ing meth­ods which don’t suit boys, and you have the per­fect storm.

It is a prob­lem that threat­ens to dis­en­fran­chise a gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren and cre­ate fu­ture na­tional se­cu­rity is­sues, un­less ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties act now. POST­SCRIPT: Mrs A’s or­deal oc­curred dur­ing the reign of the po­lit­i­cally cor­rect for­mer Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Adrian Pic­coli.

But yes­ter­day, the new min­is­ter, Rob Stokes, stepped in to or­der “the Depart­ment to con- tact the teacher, known as Mrs A, to or­gan­ise a rein­ves­ti­ga­tion of the re­ported mat­ters in 2014 and to of­fer an op­por­tu­nity for me to speak to her per­son­ally about her con­cerns.”

“As Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion I am con­cerned about any at­tack on our hard­work­ing teach­ers,” he said.

Punch­bowl Pri­mary School. Pic­ture: Kristi Miller

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