Don’t Blame Teachers for National Anthem Furor



The outrage based on a school’s decision to let Muslim children leave the room during a rendition of the national anthem is grossly unfair.

Teachers have a very difficult job and the last thing we need is to to get ourselves embroiled in a cultural episode where we get accused of being racist or insensitive.

If my school Principal allowed students to leave the room during the national anthem, I wouldn’t even think about questioning the ruling. There are far bigger fish to fry:


A Victorian school that invited Muslim children to walk out of assembly before the national anthem was played has been criticised by parents and maverick Senator Jacqui Lambie.

Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School said Shia Muslim students were allowed to skip the anthem because during the month of Muharram taking part in joyous events such as singing and listening to music is frowned upon as it is a time of mourning, the Herald Sun reports.

Lorraine McCurdy, who has two grandchildren at Cranbourne, told radio station 3AW she “saw red” when children were invited to leave before singing ‘Advance Australia Fair’.

“Two children got up and said ‘welcome to our assembly’ with that a teacher came forward and said all those who feel it’s against their culture may leave the room,” Ms McCurdy said.

“With that about 30 or 40 children got up and left the room.

“We sang the national anthem and they all came back in.

“I saw red, I’m Australian and I felt ‘you don’t walk out on my national anthem, that’s showing respect to my country.”

Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie said she found the whole situation “disgusting”.

“I find that absolutely devastating, we should all be singing the Australian national anthem and we should be doing that with pride,” the senator said.

“I find these schools that are allowing this to happen disgusting.

“I don’t think religion needs to be brought into the national anthem. We should all be proud to be Australians and proud to sing the national anthem.”

Cranbourne principal Cheryl Irving said the school, whose motto is “Many Cultures, one community”, allowed students to opt out of the anthem for religious reasons.

“Muharram is a Shia cultural observation marking the death of Imam Hussein. This year it falls between Tuesday October 13 and Thursday November 12,” Ms Irving said.

“Prior to last week’s Years 2-6 assembly, in respect of this religious observance, students were given the opportunity to leave the hall before music was played.

“The students then re-joined the assembly at the conclusion of the music.”

The Department of Education has backed the decision saying it supports schools “to be inclusive for all students”.


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