Children’s Commissioner releases report reflects racism in schools
School children, many of whom are Māori, are experiencing substantial racism in the classroom.
That’s the disturbing conclusion from a report released by the Children's Commissioner.
Judge Andrew Beecroft says the reform is clearly needed in the education sector to address this type of discrimination.
“It came out of the blue. I guess teachers and educators will be horrified, deeply concerned, but that was their wording and consistent message that they felt prejudged.”
More than 1600 children were asked about their experiences at school, what they liked and didn't and what could be made better.
In the report kids simply complained about racism without being asked.
According to Māori Department leader Rhonda Tibble at Auckland Girls Grammar School, this is not a new thing.
“I tīmata te wehewehe te whāngai atu i te mātauranga ki a Ngāi Tātou Te Māori. Kāore ngā ture mātauranga kua whakatūria ngā kura i tū i te tuatahi mo ā tātou hiahia, mō ā tātou aronga rangatiratanga hei Māori i a Aotearoa. Nā kōnā he ngāwari te kī atu. Kua nui atu i te kotahi rau tau e noho pēnei ana te kaikiri i a Ngāi Tātou.”
For 25 years, Tibble has been a teacher and has had many experiences of children experience racism by their teachers.
“Tini aku tamariki kua haramai kua oma mai ki ahau ki te kōrero mai mō ā rātou mānukanuka, āwangawanga mō te takahi ngā kaiako i ā rātou kāre e whakaponotia atu ki ō rātou kōrero, kāre e whakapono ki ō ratou wawata. Hāunga tērā i te mutunga he kaikiri te whakautu ki ngā tamariki i ngā wā katoa nō te mea kei te kite ngā tamariki he rerekē nō kiri kē atu.”
Tibble says the main thing now is that Pākehā are talking and children are talking. Further investigation needs to happen to eliminate racism within the system.