Students call on Australia to let them stay as military guns down protesters in Myanmar

Naw Naw* becomes shaky when she talks about the deadly violence being unleashed in her home of Myanmar.

Activists estimate more than 700 people — some of them children as young as five years old — have been killed since the military seized power in a coup on February 1, deposing de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“Sometimes they kill at night … every age, they kill,” Naw Naw told the ABC.

For now, Naw Naw is safe in Melbourne, studying a diploma of early childhood.

But her time in Australia could be about to run out — her visa is due to expire next month.

As a member of the Kachin ethnic community who has been outspoken about the atrocities back home, she fears what would happen if she were forced to return. 

“I would be arrested too if I must return now,” she said.

She fears if she was detained, she wouldn’t come out alive. 

“Everyone here is in fear of returning at the moment. I really fear for every student.”

Mary Aung, also an international student, echoed those fears at a public hearing on the situation in Myanmar held by the joint standing committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade on Tuesday. 

“There’s a great danger for me if I go back if I go back to Myanmar — I could be arrested on my arrival,” she said.

There are more than 3,500 temporary visa holders from Myanmar in Australia, about half of them students.

Last month, The Australian reported the government was planning to grant visa extensions on humanitarian grounds to Myanmar citizens in Australia on temporary visas.

The report said the Home Affairs and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade were working on a policy to be announced in “not weeks, but days” – but no announcement has yet been made.

The latest government figures show that in March, 45 Myanmar citizens applied to the Australian government for protection visas. Thirteen applied in February. 

Some in the Myanmar community have called on the Australian government to follow in the steps of Bob Hawke, who offered asylum to Chinese students in Australia after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

That’s something Naw Naw would like to see too.

“I really want to request the Australian government to take strong and quick action [on] this,” she said.

Members of the Myanmar community criticised Australia’s “slow and ineffective” response to the coup. 

Labor MP Julian Hill said they “deserve better”. 

“Here we are in mid-April, and the best you’ve got is something might happen and it’s not my problem,” he said. 

“It sounds somewhat constipated, shall I say, so I do hope some of these actions can be brought to bear soon so things are unblocked.”

Ridwaan Jadwat, from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, disagreed with that assessment. 

“The government will look at this with a great deal of compassion and make a sensible decision,” he said. 

He said visa extensions are being considered, and when it comes to sanctions, “nothing is off the table”, he added. 

Hugh Jeffrey from Defence warned that sanctioning the military is not a “silver bullet”. 

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America tries to figure out a fairer way to select students

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More Victorian parents choosing to homeschool students post COVID-19

While some parents are waving their children back to school with relief, there has been a 20 per cent increase in children being registered to homeschool.

That’s 1,224 more children registered as homeschoolers in 2020 compared with the previous year according to data collected by the Victorian government, which attributes the change to COVID-19.

The government released the data last month, but home learning networks say the trend is continuing into 2021.

Parent Tracey Arnell from Geelong is continuing to educate her child at home.

Ms Arnell’s son Zachery was in year seven during 2020. He has high-functioning autism and Ms Arnell had always worried he struggled at school.

She said lockdown life showed her how hard school was for him.

“We always knew it was stressful but because it was something he knew he had to do he went every day and it was hard but he did it anyway,” Ms Arnell said.

“What we learned during the first lockdown, when we really tried to mimic a normal school day, going from subject to subject every 45 minutes, we could see the anxiety creeping up and growing and we thought, how does he cope in a real classroom?

“Then the second lockdown came and we decided to do it differently. We followed our own program. We noticed a change in personality — we saw our child again. He was relaxed. So we made the decision to continue home learning through our own program.”

The rise of homeschool numbers may not have reached its peak yet. 

Home Education Network (HEN) volunteer Kirsty James said there were still many families asking for information about making the switch to home education.

“At HEN, we are seeing an increase in enquiries,” Ms James said.

Monash University Faculty of Education lecturer Nicholas Gamble was himself homeschooled.

Dr Gamble said people needed to be aware homeschooling was different to the home learning during lockdown with a school’s support.

He said there was a lot to take into account.

“Instead of the school driving the curriculum the parent and students will need to dictate the when, the where, the how. The commitment needs time, effort. 

Dr Gamble was homeschooled until year 11 and 12 and had a positive experience.

“Certainly for me, I enjoyed the freedom and ability to explore the things that interested me in the time frames I really enjoyed,” he said.

A disproportionately large amount of homeschooling families live in regional Victoria. Regional Victoria makes up around 24 per cent of the Victoria population and around 43 per cent of homeschooling families.

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How schools and universities are luring students back to campus with bold new spaces

There’s a revolution brewing behind the scenes at the nation’s schools and universities.

It’s not so much about overthrowing the existing political order, however. It’s much more about the real estate – a dramatic change in style from institutional to commercial, where places of learning increasingly mirror modern workspaces.

“We’re seeing the largest qualitative shift we’ve ever seen before in the educational space,” said architect Hamilton Wilson, managing director of specialist firm Wilson Architects. “All the spaces in both universities and schools are rapidly changing.

“It’s all about better learning, individually and collectively, and about joining the dots and creating cross-disciplinary spaces that enable the next generation to find extraordinary new things that haven’t been invented yet.”

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Educational institutions have been physically changing for the past few years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the thinking about the need for improvements.

With overseas students providing much-needed funds for universities and other tertiary colleges, there’s now heated competition to woo them back once the international borders re-open. Since domestic students have become increasingly used to remote learning, they need to be lured back too by much more attractive physical spaces.

At the independent Ravenswood School for Girls on Sydney’s upper north shore, architectural firm BVN delivered a senior learning centre for year 12 pupils, which opened in May last year to coincide with students’ return to school after weeks of studying online.

The Ravenswood School for Girls senior learning centre opened when students returned to school in May last year. Photo: Tom Ferguson

It was designed to be flexible enough to accommodate traditional stand-and-deliver models and recent – and future – styles of teaching. It also had to provide a “home” for the senior students, where they could feel a personal connection to their school, have coffee and chat with their peers and study after hours.

“Teaching styles used to be generic from school to school, with long corridors and eight-metre by eight-metre classrooms off them, and they’d all be the same,” BVN principal Philip Rossington said. “But now schools are looking at how they want to deliver their teaching, and wanting their buildings to reflect their own particular philosophies.”

There’s a variety of seating for students, smaller “huts” to give them a sense of enclosure and casual tiered learning spaces in a project that’s now been shortlisted for an Australian Institute of Architects (NSW) award. It has a good precedent too. In 2012, BVN won the Sir John Sulman Medal for public architecture for an earlier building at Ravenswood.

Another much-praised project has been Melbourne’s Monash University Building CL28, the Centrally Managed Teaching and Maths Learning Centre, by architects Kennedy Nolan. Originally a windowless computer facility in an old 1960s building, it’s now been transformed into a variety of formal and flexible informal teaching spaces, student lounges and pods, which students can use as suits them – whether they’re quiet introverts or sociable extroverts.

This area at Monash University was transformed from a windowless computer lab to a variety of teaching and studying spaces. Photo: Derek Swalwell

Besides completely overhauling the amenity of the 1000 square metre building, there are also several fun, playful elements. These include graph-paper gridlines on internal glazing and whiteboards on which students can write out their equations, glazed facades with geometry and maths symbols, an entry portal, which is an abstract of the pi symbol, and maths patterns on the carpet.

“Our task was to create an exciting place for people to come and learn, gather and teach, with views to the large nature garden and established trees outside, and from the outside in,” said Kennedy Nolan director Rachel Nolan.

“I think now universities are very clearly thinking about the users and how to keep them on the campus longer. You need a great campus because students often have to travel a long way to get there, so you need to make it much more attractive for students and the teachers.”

The firm also worked on a school in Melbourne’s north-east, the Research Primary School, a place of dilapidated facilities on a steeply sloping site. A visible and welcoming entrance to the school was established, external areas were clearly defined, and a contained playing and learning space was built, with direct access to teaching spaces and a central quadrangle with a broad verandah to give the school a heart.

“Architecture in education can be very rewarding as lots of people are being exposed to good design and are benefitting from it,” Ms Nolan said. “And it’s a great part of a child’s education to be exposed to good design in buildings and interiors.”

As education specialists, Wilson Architects see schools and colleges as having to react to the changing work landscape and update their facilities to better equip their students with the skills to succeed in a rapidly changing world, particularly post COVID-19.

It designed the $30 million JCU Ideas Lab, a centre of innovation at James Cook University’s Nguma-bada campus in Cairns, in Far North Queensland, jointly funded by the university, the Queensland government and the federal government. It opened in July 2020.

The $30 million Ideas Lab at James Cook University’s Nguma-bada campus in Cairns. Photo: Andrew Watson

“Educational institutions are becoming more responsive to an economic climate where jobs are no longer as prescriptive as they used to be,” Mr Wilson said. “We were brought up in a period where everything was tailored to training you for at least being knowledgeable in one area, and you go out into the world, and that’s it.

“But now students need to be masters of many things and navigate the world, and education has been looking at broader ways to provide those skillsets. It’s moved away from content being king to being about how to navigate people and places and technology. It’s so much more complex and nuanced.”

The JCU Ideas Lab is an interconnected three-storey edifice with natural light, flexible, reconfigurable floor plates, retreat spaces, demonstrative spaces and open spaces that all visually connect to an internal and exterior landscape – much like some of the best new workspaces today.

The facade looks like origami, a metaphor for innovation, while the whole of the building is wrapped in a “folded” Teflon fabric, which takes on creases and hard chines that modulate mass and form. Large format projectors cast images onto the screen at night to further animate the facade.

“Of course, all the technology allows us now to work remotely, but we still need to connect physically,” Mr Wilson said. “COVID allowed us to change our processes to learn and teach and work online, but humans still need fundamentally to come together and connect, and some of these new buildings are really inviting for that. “

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Regional Victorian special school opens ‘life skills’ house to teach students how to live independently

A newly built house on the grounds of a regional Victorian special school will give students the skills they need for independent living.

The Life Skills House at the Belvoir Special School in Wodonga has been years in the making and finally opened on Friday.

School principal Pennie Moffatt said the four-bedroom, two-bathroom home had been largely made possible through donations and volunteer work from the local community and local Rotary clubs.

“I am just so grateful for the contributions from the community and the businesses that have helped us build the house. It really has been constructed by our community for our students,” she said.

“If it wasn’t for Rotary and the businesses and volunteers, we would not have such a fantastic quality house that we can use to build the life skills of our students.”

The home will now be used to help students with special needs build their independence and capabilities.

“But for our young people we need to make sure that they can actually be independent when they leave school.”

Ms Moffatt said it was important the students knew how to garden and maintain a lawn, how to cook, stay on budget, make their bed, and keep a home clean.

And the learning has already started with students taking part in helping to choose the furnishings within the home all while sticking to a budget.

Four Rotary clubs from across the district helped make the project a reality.

Member Michael Shepanski said the clubs initially expected they would have to contribute a “substantial amount of money”.

But they found very quickly that they lived in a very generous community.

“We’ve had every kind of trade and every kind of supplier donating their services as well as cash, which we used to buy the things that weren’t donated,” he said.

Mr Shepanski said Rotary played an “organising” role in the project including working with different levels of government after the school came to them with the idea.

“We could see immediately that it was a project that we wanted to be involved in,” he said.

“It has taken a long time, but it has absolutely been worth it. It is everything that we hoped it would be, and the school is starting to use it the way we’d always intended.”

And now that the project was complete, Mr Shepanski hoped it would be the first of many across the country.

“Going forward, what I hope for is that people in other regions will come and see it and try to replicate the same thing and perhaps their service clubs will have a role in that.”

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Some college towns grapple with Covid-19 after students return

“MSU is committed to doing everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” MSU Physician David Weismantel said. “The safety of our entire community is a priority and we all have a role to play in preventing the spread of the virus.”

Kelly Girtz, the mayor of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia — home to the University of Georgia — told CNN Saturday his city has seen a “dramatic spike” in cases after maintaining lower case counts and death counts throughout the summer. UGA classes began August 20.

“Clearly it’s the return to campus of large numbers of students who are not here through the summertime,” he said.

“Certainly young people are going to do the things that young people do, so we need to create the underlying conditions that keep people safe,” Girtz said, calling for better coordination among state and national leaders. “So that means very low allowance of gatherings and really as much digital or online learning as possible.”

Six students at Miami University in Ohio were cited after holding a house party even though at least one of them tested positive for Covid-19, according to police records. The university declined to comment, citing federal privacy laws, but said students would face disciplinary action if they violate quarantine orders or the city ordinance on mass gatherings.

Arkansas reported a record high of 1,107 new cases on Friday, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson said a backlog in testing was to blame. About 13% of the state’s cases were attributed to young people in college communities, according to Dr. José Romero, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health — though he said that was down from previous counts, calling it a “good indicator.”

More than 6.4 million infections have been recorded in the US and 193,482 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Air pollution from wildfires could lead to vulnerability

Doctors warn that bad air quality stemming from smoke produced by the wildfires ravaging Western states could make people more vulnerable to coronavirus infections.

“Multiple studies have shown a correlation between higher levels of pollution in the air and greater spread and severity of Covid-19 cases,” said Dr. Brad Spellberg, chief medical officer of the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, citing several studies conducted in the United States, China and Italy. “Some studies have also shown that exposure of lung tissue to pollution may increase susceptibility to viral infections.”

US could see a 'very deadly December' with tens of thousands of new coronavirus deaths, experts say.

Smoke from wildfires can irritate the lungs and cause inflammation that can affect the immune system, said Dr. Rekha Murthy, an infectious disease specialist at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. That inflammation can make people more at risk of lung infections.

“Whenever the lining of the lung or the airways become inflamed or damaged, it increases the potential for inhaled viral particles to take hold in the lungs and cause infection,” Murthy said.

There are also concerns that smoke-filled air will drive coronavirus-positive people indoors, CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen said. That, she said, could potentially increase the spread of the virus.

“We know being outdoors versus indoors reduces the rate of transmission … but now people are being told you have to go indoors because you don’t want to breathe in the air that could cause respiratory issues,” she said. “But you don’t want to be indoors with other individuals and have a higher rate of contracting COVID-19… so, it’s really a catch-22.”

To prevent the possible spread of coronavirus during the intense fire season, those remaining indoors due to poor air quality should stay away from anyone who is not in their immediate household, Wen said.

Early mask wearing would have saved lives

About 150,000 of the lives lost would have been saved if more Americans wore masks earlier on in the coronavirus pandemic, a health expert says.

“If the President had said from day one everyone is wearing a mask, we’d have about 45,000 deaths in this country,” said CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at George Washington University.

Reiner pointed to how Germany handled the pandemic.

“They haven’t been the best. They haven’t been the worst. They’ve been OK in their pandemic response and they’ve had about 10,000 deaths,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

The US has four times the population of Germany. “So we’d have about 45,000 deaths in this country,” he said. “So about 150,000 people would be alive.”

He reiterated the importance of embracing masks.

“If you want to think about why we still have 40,000 cases a day and 1,000 deaths a day in this country, it’s because we’re still talking about masks,” Reiner said. “It’s so basic.”

More deaths predicted if people let their guards down

An influential model is predicting a catastrophic winter with a significant rise in coronavirus deaths.

A possible scenario sees 415,090 Covid-19 deaths by January, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington says in its latest forecast. The worst-case scenario is 611,000 deaths by January 1.

“When we look ahead into the winter with seasonality kicking in, people becoming clearly less vigilant, you know mask use is down, mobility is up in the nation, you put all those together and we look like we’re going to have a very deadly December ahead of us in terms of toll of coronavirus,” IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Despite the dire prediction, President Donald Trump says the US has done “really well” in fighting the virus.

One of the leading coronavirus vaccine trials is currently paused. Prominent vaccine researchers tell CNN that's unusual

“I really do believe we’re rounding the corner and the vaccines are right there, but not even discussing vaccines and not discussing therapeutics, we’re rounding the corner,” Trump said.

Speaking with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he does not agree with the President’s statements.

“We’re plateauing at around 40,000 cases a day, and the deaths of around 1,000,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

He said test positivity is increasing in some regions of the country and people are spending more time indoors because of cooler weather.

“That’s not good for a respiratory-borne virus,” he said.

Fauci warned that the country needs to get the levels down lower “so that when you go into a more precarious situation, like the fall and the winter, you won’t have a situation where you really are at a disadvantage right from the very beginning.”

CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Harmeet Kaur, Amir Vera, Ben Tinker, Maggie Fox and Shelby Lin Erdman contributed to this report.

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Cairns State High School students call out racist slurs, fed up with ‘lack of support’ from school

Fed-up students tired of racist taunts at a far north Queensland school say they are willing to risk disciplinary action from administrators to stop the hateful slurs. 

Readers are advised this article contains explicit and offensive language.

Cairns State High School students Talea Villaflor and Lalawa Donigi Bedford, both 15 and in Year 10, gave impassioned speeches — against the use of racist terms like “n*****” and “coconut” — at a peaceful demonstration against racism at the school on Friday.

The school has since launched an investigation into three students involved in the protest and informed them late on Sunday evening to stay home.

They were not suspended and their parents were not given a timeline on when they could return, but were told the students could face disciplinary consequences.

Ms Villaflor has been told to stay home while she is investigated and fears being expelled for calling out hate speech inside school grounds. 

Ms Donigi Bedford is not part of the investigation, and attended this week.

The Education Department says the school encourages all students to express their concerns in a respectful way, and declined to comment on disciplinary action the students might face.

“I’m speechless. I stuck up for [spoke out about] something that I have been a victim of, which you [the school] said to do,” Ms Villaflor said.

“You said you want this school to be a safe workplace, then when I try to stick up for myself and other students that have witnessed and been victims of racism, then I get in trouble for that. 

“I’m a good student, I show respect to my teachers. I do all this and it’s like, what respect am I being shown back?”

Bigoted remarks including the “n-word” are frequently used in school by students with little to no consequence, Ms Donigi Bedford said. 

“They [students] think they’re funny by using the word and pretending to be black,” she said. 

“It has a really big impact on us because even though we’re not African-American, we’re still black. You’re still dehumanising us.

“Most of my friends [who] are white people come up to me and say, ‘Lala, you’re such a coconut’ or ‘You’re too good for black people’. 

Ms Villaflor recounted multiple examples she had experienced.

“I had a student in my class, we were playing a game and when the Indigenous kid scored he decided to call that kid the n-word,” she said. 

“We confronted him about it and he said, ‘It wasn’t directed like that. It wasn’t supposed to be like that. It’s out of context.’ 

The issue was raised with a staff member but never resolved, Ms Villaflor said. 

“He related the situation to a gay problem: ‘If this person were to say this stuff then we’d hold them accountable,'” she said. 

“You can’t be relating them. They aren’t the same. It’s like, ‘What?'” 

Students had unsuccessfully tried to stamp out the vile behaviour through the school system, Ms Donigi Bedford said.

“We protested because we’re really just sick of the lack of support from the school, deputies and [the] Department [of Education],” she said. 

“They put out all this stuff saying, ‘Speak up about bullying’ and then when we finally did it, and in the past multiple times, nothing happened.

Last week the Department of Education confirmed the Ethical Standards unit was investigating a relief teacher’s alleged use of “a racially offensive term while explaining American culture in the 1950s”.

“Students brought the incident to the attention of the school leadership team,” the spokesperson said. 

“A peaceful protest occurred at the school [on] March 19 while students were gathered together to mark the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence.

“Cairns State High School encourages all students to express their concerns and opinions, in a respectful and constructive manner. [The] student voice is highly valued in the school community.”

A request for further comment regarding disciplinary action students may face was declined. 

In a statement, Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said administrators were working with the broader community to address racism at the school.

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Cairns State High School students told to stay home after peaceful protest against racism

Students involved in a peaceful protest against racism at a far north Queensland school have been told to stay home while the matter is investigated.

The uproar started on Thursday at Cairns State High School, after a relief teacher allegedly used a derogatory term in class.

The alleged slur sparked the act of civil disobedience with dozens of teenagers marching out of classrooms on Friday afternoon carrying placards and urging teachers to take a stronger stance against bigotry inside the schoolyard.

Protestor Varni Nona said a separate incident involving a staff member last week had prompted her to speak out.

“All the racial experiences students have faced, they continue to get swept under the rug,” she said.

“Even though people are speaking out, it still isn’t being heard.

“After the protest started to calm down, little boys and girls were coming up to us and crying because they knew they weren’t alone in this. We heard them and their experiences were valid.

Following the protest, executive principal Chris Zilm wrote in a letter to families, the teacher had been reported to the Department of Education.

“For context, students alleged that a racially-offensive term was used to exemplify American culture in the 1950s,” Mr Zilm said.

“The highly-offensive term was not aimed at any of the students.

“Cairns State High School will continue to promote safe and respectful interactions for everyone in the school community and I encourage respectful debate and communication at all times … having debate is important. It is a step towards healing and making our place an even better environment for all.”

But despite the “peaceful” nature of the protest, Varni, along with two other students were told not to attend school on Monday.

The year 12 student and aspiring lawyer said students of colour are regularly subjected to racist taunts and actions at school.

“There’s something every week,” she said.

“I hear from other girls about things that have happened [too].”

A mediation meeting scheduled for Monday between three students, including Varni, and the school, was cancelled late on Sunday evening.

It is understood the students must now provide statements while the matter is investigated.

Varni’s mother, Darinka Nona, said the children did not deserve to be punished.

“I do worry that the kids won’t be able to speak freely and I worry that they won’t be able to speak without consequence,” Ms Nona said.

“I think the school needs to recognise there is a problem. These kids aren’t making stories up.

Ms Nona said educators should already understand what is appropriate inside the school grounds.

“When you’re a teacher in a multicultural school, your ignorance is no longer an excuse,” she said.

“If you’ve been told that what you’ve said is inappropriate, then that’s on you. You need to work on the way you speak to people and you’re a teacher.

“You have a role to educate kids and if you’re teaching like that, then there’s something definitely wrong.”

The Department of Education declined to discuss the student investigation but, in a statement,  confirmed a teacher’s conduct was being reviewed.

“The Department was made aware of an incident that happened on March 18 when it’s reported a relief teacher used a racially-offensive term while explaining American culture in the 1950s,” a spokesperson said.

“Students brought the incident to the attention of the school leadership team.

“The incident is now being investigated by the Ethical Standards unit in the Department and will be dealt with in accordance with departmental guidelines.

“A peaceful protest occurred at the school on March 19 while students were gathered together to mark the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence.

“Cairns State High School encourages all students to express their concerns and opinions, in a respectful and constructive manner. Student voice is highly valued in the school community.”

The ABC contacted Mr Zilm who declined to comment.

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Brisbane Boys’ College students calls on peers to ‘stop being boys, be human’ in wake of national sexual assault conversation

Brisbane Boys College (BBC) captain Mason Black made the resounding speech in front of peers on Thursday, calling on them to “accept this injustice against women and stand up for what is right”.

It follows thousands of Australian students anonymously detailing harrowing accounts of rape and sexual assault on a viral petition calling for sexual consent to be taught earlier in schools.

The petition was launched by former Kamabala student Chanel Contos.

BBC was among the Queensland public and private schools identified on the petition in testimonies from young women.

A video of Mr Black’s speech calling for a change in culture at the college and broader society, has attracted about 260,000 views on Instagram and tens of thousands on Facebook.

In his speech, Mr Black revealed his mother had been sexually abused at just 10-years of age.

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Wesley College students create petition to share sexism, sexual assault claims after TikTok video emerges

A prestigious Melbourne private school is facing a growing scandal as female students come forward with claims of sexual assault at the hands of their male classmates.

The allegations, which includes incidents involving sexual assault, groping and sexism, were mentioned in a petition created by students at Wesley College in a bid to prompt the school to take urgent action.

It comes just days after some students were caught publicly denigrating women in a TikTok video on a bus on Monday – the same day as the nationwide March4Justice rallies which called for equality and an end to violence against women.

Wesley College Headmaster Nick Evans wrote to parents about the incident on Monday, conceding “we have work to do”.

Evans confirmed some Wesley students on public transport had made derogatory comments about women that were “highly offensive and caused extreme discomfort”.

“I have run the gamut of emotions as a result of this news, from fury to frustration, from disbelief to determination, from shame to sadness,” he said.

The incident followed the school’s audit of its programs dealing with consent and respectful relationships.

“It was clear last week, and it is even clearer now, that we have work to do,” he added.

He said Wesley had partnered with child protection organisation, Bravehearts, and that would involve more education for students with a focus on safety, consent and respect.

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