250 days of Richmond school occupation


250 days of Richmond school occupation

By Alex Bainbridge

MELBOURNE — The Richmond Secondary College Occupation released an Occupiers' Handbook on August 19 to mark the 250th day of the occupation.

Richmond Secondary College (RSC) was one of 55 schools the Kennett government attempted to close after the state elections late last year. Students, parents, staff and community activists protested the discriminatory nature of these closures and the adverse effect they would have on public education. Many of the schools closed were located in poor suburbs or provided special facilities for students.

Within days of the closure order, a 24-hour-a-day occupation of RSC, the only co-educational secondary school in Richmond, was begun. In January, along with Northland SC, the school decided to run classes in defiance of the closure order.

The 18-page Occupiers' Handbook outlines the experiences of the Melbourne school occupations this year. It is aimed at assisting those school communities who decide to take this option to save their school from closure. Copies have already been ordered in advance from all over Victoria and even in Tasmania and NSW.

Coinciding with the launch of the Handbook, the occupation committee has announced the coming speaking tour of dozens of Victorian country schools. The tour, beginning September 11 will address some of the numerous requests for information from schools earmarked for closure by the Kennett government later this year.

To obtain copies of the Handbook or further information contact RSC, The Boulevard, Richmond, VIC 3121 or phone (03) 428 3328.

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