A play about the Stolen Generation put on by a Sydney primary school last week has sparked off a massive controversy. The school, Forestville Public, came under attack for using children as “political pawns”.
There have been calls for the school’s principal to be sacked. The New South Wales education minister has apologised to anyone who was offended.
But parents of some of the children in the play were not offended.
Melody Jackson, whose Year Six son played a police officer dragging Indigenous children away, says she felt “immensely proud” when she was watching the play.
“I was moved,” Jackson tells Mamamia.
“I was crying. I don’t know whether I was crying because of the smoke machine and my sensitive eyes, but I was incredibly moved. I thought that it was a very brave and stark truth, and I was proud that my children were part of that.”
Jackson says there was nothing really shocking in it.
“They portrayed a simple scene where children were taken from their homes, they were put in religious-based institutions, men and women cried about the loss of their children, and, for the most part, we’ve stood by and done nothing.”
Jackson, 42, says she knew nothing about Indigenous history when she was in primary school.
“It wasn’t until I was in Year 8 that we did A.B. Facey’s A Fortunate Life. That was my entire education around the Australian colonisation.
“I’m invested in making sure that my kids have an honest account of the history of our country. If that’s not what education is for, I don’t know why we would send our children to school.
“Do we want our kids constantly doing The Sound Of Music? Is that all we’ve got?”
Another mum, whose Year 6 daughter played a member of the Stolen Generation, told Mamamia the play was “moving and entirely appropriate”.
“I was very proud of my daughter and of the curiosity and sensitivity she has shown to such a brutal part of our history,” said the mum, who wanted to remain anonymous.
“Congratulations to the principal and all the teachers involved, and what a tragedy we still live in such a bigoted society.”