NSW teachers plan further action

Issue 

By Paul Howes SYDNEY — On February 22 a statewide teachers' stop-work meeting will be held to discuss a 12% pay rise and teachers' rights to lodge grievances about school management without the fear of harassment. The latter dispute is centred on Lurnea High in Sydney's west. Six staff members where told to transfer because they had not agreed with the principal's managerial style and had complained to the Industrial Relations Forum. The director-general of school education, Ken Boston, claimed that there had been "a long history of disputation between the principal and the other six, which has brought the school to its knees in an unsettled three-year long dispute". In fact, the complaints were not lodged until June 1995, and students didn't even know that the dispute was going on until the media picked up the story. The establishment media are implying that the teachers were in conflict with the principal because she is lesbian. These claims have not been proved. Throughout the school system discrimination and violence against gays and lesbians is widespread. It can not be overcome by transfers; what is needed is education on sexuality and more freedom of discussion in schools. The NSW Teachers Federation says the main issue is the "bureaucratic arrogance" of the education department and the support given to it by the Labor government. It described relations with the government as at "an all time low".

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