Youth worker calls white boys ‘oppressors’
A Melbourne mayor has apologised to parents after a female youth worker ordered Year 11 boys to stand up in class and labelled them "oppressors" for being white, male and Christian.
According to the newspaper, the Kingston Youth Services worker held a talk about privilege, pronouns and "intersectionality" at the state-run Parkdale Secondary College in Melbourne's southeast on Wednesday.
She told the boys to stand up if they were "white", "male" and "Christian" before telling them they were responsible for being "privileged" and "oppressors".
A female Year 11 student told the newspaper pupils were "shocked" by the presentation and that the male students had felt "ashamed" and "targeted".
"It was so messed up, we thought for a moment it was a joke, but then we realised it wasn't and we were so upset and angry by it all," the 16-year-old said.
"She basically said straight, white, Christian males were oppressors and they held all the power and privilege in society. We were shocked but it was quite difficult to say anything because she was also talking about LGBTQI+ and if you spoke out against that you feared you'd be called homophobic."
Several parents told the paper they were outraged and disgusted that their children had been unfairly targeted for being white boys and demanded the worker be sacked.
Local councillor Cameron Howe joined the calls, saying the worker had showed "reverse racism". "This is unacceptable behaviour that has angered the school community and public - she needs to be sacked," he said.
School principal David Russell issued a statement to parents on Sunday apologising for the incident.
"As part of this presentation led by the guest speaker, many Year 11 boys were asked to stand and told they were historically the oppressors," Mr Russell said.
"The part of the presentation was inappropriate and we're extremely disappointed it was included. We certainly do not support or condone this approach and messaging. The school has written to Kingston Youth Services and Kingston City Council to express our disappointment regarding the content and delivery."
Mr Russell said the Year 11 students were addressed on Thursday "offering support through the school to any student who was impacted by this presentation".
Kingston mayor Steve Staikos also apologised. "The council's CEO is undertaking an investigation into this as a matter of urgency," he said. "I extend my apologies to all students and parents who have been affected by this."
Kingston City Council chief executive Tim Tamlin said the council was still investigating the incident but was "deeply sorry if any of the content has caused hurt and anguish to students and parents".
"It is never council's intention to enter into identity politics," he said. "We are carefully reviewing the youth services program and will take measures to ensure this can never happen again."
The Kingston Youth Services website describes its "diversity and inclusion" program offered to schools as "suited to all students".
"Youth Services believes that diversity and inclusion of any kind starts with a foundation of empathy and respect," the description says.
"The Diversity and Inclusion Program explores a variety of themes around how diverse, inclusive and safe spaces can be created and with the support of Youth Services embark on a respectful discussion around a variety of topics including disability, LGBTIQA+, culture and race."
Kingston City Council has been contacted for additional comment.
Originally published as Youth worker calls white boys 'oppressors'