Amid a week-long initiative titled ‘Solidarity with Palestine,’ educators are encouraged to wear keffiyehs, display Palestine badges or T-shirts, and host activities supporting the cause.
Despite Education Minister Ben Carroll condemning the campaign as “inflammatory and divisive,” some inner-city and Maribyrnong teachers, affiliated with the Australian Education Union Victoria Branch, support the initiative.
While the Department of Education warns of potential penalties, the flyer, allegedly endorsed by the union’s branches, calls for a social media presence, including posting videos and updates of ‘pro-Palestine’ actions. The opposition criticises the government’s delayed condemnation, arguing that introducing political activism into classrooms is unacceptable and could heighten disunity.
Jewish leaders expressed concern, with the Anti-Defamation Commission chair stating it’s a “declaration of war against Jewish students.” The Executive Council of Australian Jewry calls for exceptional teachers and schools to voice their concerns against harmful recruitment attempts.
The controversy follows a School Strike for Palestine rally in Melbourne, where students and teachers participated in a march through the city, demanding an end to the Gaza conflict.
Despite criticism from Minister Carroll, teachers assert their commitment to advancing human rights in alignment with the Victorian curriculum and the Public Service Code of Conduct charter for Human Rights.