Fight continues against school closure
By Adam Hanieh
ADELAIDE — More than 100 angry people packed the school hall of Port Adelaide Girls High on March 15 to hear education minister Rob Lucas attempt to justify the closure of the school.
Port Adelaide Girls is the only public girls' school in the western suburbs. It has won national acclaim for programs such as a young single mothers' program that is a gateway back into the education system and a school culture that allows young Aboriginal women to succeed. Young women at the school are 25 times more likely to go onto tertiary study than other young people in the Port Adelaide area.
A year 11 student told the meeting that the smaller class sizes and lack of harassment stopped her from dropping out of school. Another mature age student said that Port Adelaide Girls was the only school in the area that had accepted her re-entry into education.
In an arrogant and empty 10-minute speech, Lucas claimed that declining enrolments and lack of subject choices necessitated the school's closure. He claimed that he had spoken with five students, two of whom had told him that they faced a narrow subject range.
The government has refused to release the report which led it to decide on the school's closure.
The president of the South Australian Institute of Teachers, Claire McCarty, told the meeting that declining enrolments were due to the lack of a tenured principal, which has cast doubt on the school's future. This doubt was increased by the government's announcement of the school's closure the day before enrolments were to begin.
The meeting voted unanimously to condemn the actions of the government and vowed to continue the campaign. Stephen Spence, ward councillor for the Port Adelaide area, suggested a public demonstration and a petition against the closure.