Save Ballerrt Mooroop College - Protest 15th December

Speakers:
Wed 15th December, Bourke St Mall

5:00pm, Wed 15th December, Bourke St Mall
Speakers:
Gary Foley: Long-term Aboriginal Rights Activist
Gary Murray: Spokesperson from BLAEGC
Dotty Bamblett: President of School Council
Sue Pennicuik: The Greens

Aboriginal schools are again a site of assimilation.

Bilingual programs in the Northern Territory have been banned for the first four hours of school days in favour of 'mainstream curriculum'.

Now Victorian Aboriginal schools have had primary and VCE programs cut and must focus on transitioning students to 'mainstream schools'.

But mainstreaming doesn't work- insufficient support in mainstream schools for the particular disadvantage Aboriginal children experience and their failure to value culture, language and families were the very reason Koori schools were set up initially.

The Ballert Mooroop College is the last remaining Aboriginal school on Melbourne. The Education Department is planning to demolish the gym and cultural sites.

The Broadmeadows Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (BLAECG) is demanding:
•  Don't Demolish Our Gym
•  Proper Funding for facilties for health and culture
•  Allow increased enrolments of Koori Student
•  Rights to consultation and proper planning for the school.
•  Protest called by MAIC (Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective) and BLAECG

Protest in school gym
to be demolished

Proposed Motion:
Since 2008 the Koori Open Door Education (KODE) schools in Victoria have suffered a number of attacks that mirror attacks on Indigenous schools across the country.

Selfdetermining community schools are fundamental to "closing the gap" in educational disadvantage. The AEU Victoria supports the right of Koori students to attend well funded schools that cater to their particular needs and calls for the full, adequate support for a P-12 college for Melbourne Aboriginal students.

To ensure that this happens for the Ballerrt Mooroop school, the AEU demands that the department address and resolve the concerns of the Ballerrt Mooroop school concerns immediately:

•  AEU Branch Council opposes the planned demolition of the Ballerrt Mooroop
College gym and cultural sites. We demand that the Department of education and
State Government provide full support for Ballerrt Mooroop College to educate
Melbourne Aboriginal students.
•  The Glenroy Specialist School should also be provided with a suitable site to meet
its urgent special needs including easy access for buses and ambulances.
•  Consequently the AEU Branch Council endorses the Community Sit In at the
Ballert Mooroop College in Glenroy and will send a delegation and speaker to the
protest to support the school on the 15th of December at 5pm in Bourke St.

For more information
contact Jasmine Ali 0405 317 787 - Dotty Bamblett 0433 090 933

Newspaper Cutting - Moreland Leader

Comments

Ballert Mooroop say their school is being "trampled"

Laura Wakely Whittlesea-Mernda-Doreen Star 7th December 2010

A patch of dirt and scrub is the stage for a heated debate in Glenroy.

The land is located within Ballert Mooroop College, a school focussed on helping indigenous students who are struggling in mainstream education get back on their feet.

For more than 14 years, this patch of land has been a ceremonial ground, used for smoking ceremonies, creating cultural artworks and Corroboree.

And it's soon to become a carpark, thanks to a Department of Education, Early Development and Child Learning plan for Glenroy Specialist School (GSS).

Broadmeadows Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Spokesperson Gary Murray said the "strong cultural precinct", which also includes a "spirit tree" was being "desecrated" by the development.

"I think the Education Department has made a big mistake here," Mr Murray said.

"It's 2010 and here we are fighting issues about unlawful discrimination, equity and about protecting spritual ground."

Mr Murray said the Ballert Mooroop students had been "absolutely devastated" by the development, which means they will also lose their gym.

"They've got so much uncertainty in their lives as it is,' he said.

"These are kids who get kicked around from place to place.

"It's time they kicked back."

But the kids at GSS are also dealing with some tough problems.

Room has run out at the Box Forest campus for the 150 students who need specialised facilities to cater for their disabilities and special needs requirements.

Principal Raelene Kenny said her students had as "strong an educational need as any other student" but needed a "purpose-built" school.

Ms Kenny has had to turn storerooms in to classrooms to deal with student numbers and the "extent of the disabilities".

The department is catering for this need with an $18 million development, a third of which will take over the Ballert Mooroop site.

In contrast, Ballert Mooroop is being offered just $750,000 for development.

Continued on page 3

"Why would you build a mansion with a humpy next door?" Mr Murray said.

A department spokesperson said they had "worked hard" to accommodate the needs of students in both schools and would be retaining the sprit tree, but did not comment on why there was such a large descrepancy between the funding for each school.

The department also refused to comment on why Ballert Mooroop only found out about the project in June last year.

Ms Kenny also refused to comment on when her school was told about plans for the Hilton St site.

Ballert Mooroop school president Dotti Bamblett said the department was playing a "numbers game", because her school was only licensed to have up to 50 students.

"We might have less kids but we're a pathways school," Ms Bamblett said.

"They're punishing us for being good at transitioning kids out (to VCE education or employment)."

Ms Bamblett said she "hated" how the department was "playing" her school and GSS against each other.

"I know they're looking out for the best of their school, but they're trampling on ours," she said.

Ms Kenny said the relationship between the two schools had "flattened completely".

Construction is expected to start on 17 December, when the Ballert Mooroop gym is expected to be demolished.

The school has planned a series of protests against the development and will lodge a legal appeal in the coming weeks.

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