Education Dept must apologise over claim teacher  		'speaks funny'

News

Education Dept must apologise over claim teacher 'speaks funny'

The WA Education Department has been ordered to apologise to a foreign-born trainee teacher after her class was told by her mentor that the teacher 'speaks funny'.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

The WA Education Department has been ordered to apologise to a foreign-born trainee teacher after her class was told by her mentor that the teacher 'speaks funny'.

The WA Equal Opportunity Tribunal has ruled that comments made about Julianna Chew's Malaysian accent by her supervising teacher had been 'demeaning and derogatory'.

The tribunal was told the 37-year-old mature-aged student failed the practical component of her teaching degree after Wattle Grove Primary School's Year 1 teacher Maxine Castledine rated her performance poorly in June 2004.

The tribunal said accentuating Chew's accent in front of the students amounted to unlawful discrimination on racial grounds because it made her feel 'small, insecure and very conscious of the way I speak and do things'.

Disregarded other claims

But it disregarded other claims Ms Chew was forced to speak in an Australian accent, repeatedly criticised for her pronunciation and handwriting, and laughed at her when she read stories.

Chew sought more than $30,000 in damages for lost income, general damages and costs but the tribunal said the case was not serious enough to warrant compensation. The Education Department has until the end of the month to apologise to Ms Chew in writing for Ms Castledine's conduct.

The hearing was told Castledine requested that Chew did not return to school because her presence was a 'detriment to the children's education'. She said she had had to correct Chew's language so that the children would understand her.

Won't tolerate discrimination

But the tribunal found Castledine would not have made the same comment about 'a person with a very upper-class English accent, or a United States drawl or even a very broad Australian accent'.
Education Department human resources Executive Director Alby Huts said staff were required to treat colleagues with courtesy and respect.

'We do not tolerate racial discrimination in our schools and will respond quickly to any incidents that are brought to our attention,' he said.

Related

EEO page



  

 

Post details