Protesters stand up for teacher who spoke out for Palestine

January 31, 2024
A person holding a sign that says: "We stand in solidarity with Teachers 4 Palestine"
Teachers have pointed out that standing up for human rights is part of their duty of care. Photo: Jacob Andrewartha

Teachers and unionists showed their support on January 31 for high school teacher Jason Wong, who is facing disciplinary action for speaking at a protest against Israel’s war on Gaza in December last year.

Wong is also the target of a smear campaign by the corporate media, which misrepresented his speech as “supporting terrorism”.

The protest, outside the Department of Education, called for an end to the harassment of Wong and all workers expressing their opposition to the war on Palestine.

A Teachers and School Staff for Palestine open letter signed by hundreds of teachers and unionists said: “The Department of Education is trying to silence the widespread critical discussion and debate in schools and classrooms of Israel's deliberate bombing of schools and hospitals and the killing of thousands of children in Gaza.

“Jason made the point that many others, including the Secretary General of the [United Nations], have made — that there is a context for Hamas’ violence on October 7, and without this context the history of the oppression of Palestinian people remains untold.” 

More than 1000 people have signed a December Teachers and School Staff for Palestine open letter which called on the Victorian government to “confirm the Education Departments’ support for teachers and school staff to fulfill their duty of care and professional obligation to take a stand against discrimination of any kind”.

“Our duty of care requires that we take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of reasonably foreseeable harm to students” the letter said.

“In order to reduce the harm to our own students and those in Gaza, we must demand our governments stop supporting Israel’s human rights violations, and cease complicity during this international humanitarian emergency.”

Statements of support from the Loud Jew Collective, Australian Services Union Members for Palestine and a student of Wong’s were read out at the rally.

[Sign the open letter to support Jason Wong here.]

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