Victorian education department investigating after teacher accused of playing ‘explicit and blasphemous’ video to class
A teacher at the college, in Melbourne’s north, allegedly played an “explicit and blasphemous” cartoon to the class that depicted the prophet Muhammad, according to the student’s father. The Victorian education department is investigating the incident.
Depictions of the prophet are strictly prohibited in Islam, and the student reportedly expressed her concern to the teacher but was dismissed.
In a Facebook status, the student’s father said the teacher’s insistence on playing the cartoon caused his daughter “painful psychological and mental trauma”.
“My daughter also tried to express her discomfort at the video but unfortunately the teacher didn’t care and continued to play the video, forcing my child to view that content,” he wrote.
“This has aggravated my child and my family’s sentiments in a painful manner and has put us in a painful psychological and mental trauma.
“We as Muslims cannot tolerate anything against our holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).”
The father has demanded the school apologise and provide an explanation for why the cartoon was necessary.
“We want a formal apology and we demand explanation why this kind of event even happened,” he wrote.
“We also demand that the teacher should be *suspended* from the school and an inquiry should be conducted.”
A spokesperson for the Victorian department of education told the Guardian that a review of the incident was under way.
“The department is reviewing this incident. Once the review is complete, the department will decide whether any extra advice should be provided to schools in relation to similar sensitive issues.
“Full support is being provided to any student that has been affected.”
The video shown was one of a series of examples used in the class on “hybridised media” and its effects on social media.
Guardian Australian understands the material was not part of the required curriculum teaching in Victorian government schools.
Some sources have suggested a warning was issued before the content was shown and the students were told they were free to leave the class if they wished.
The Islamic Council of Victoria said in a statement that members of the Muslim community in Melbourne were “extremely upset” by the incident.
“The ICV understands that many in the community are extremely upset about what they have heard and want to voice their anger and disapproval.”
The council said it had met with the education department and the school, which promised to no longer use the material.
“There are ongoing discussions with the school in relation to the conduct of the teacher in question, the request for a public apology from the school, and an opportunity to talk to the school community about Islam and our beloved Prophet Muhammad,” the council said.
“We are seeking to urgently confirm whether this offensive content is a standard part of the DET curriculum, and, if so, we will ask DET to immediately withdraw this content.
“As Australians, we believe that it is very reasonable to expect that the material taught in our schools does not seriously offend members of different communities and is cognisant of Australia’s multi-faith and multi-cultural diversity.”
Earlier this year, an Islamophobia in Australia study suggested that 82% of in-person victims of Islamophobic incidents were women, of which 85% wore the hijab. Almost three-quarters of the perpetrators were male, the report said.
The school was contacted for comment but referred inquiries to the Department of Education.
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