At Kerry Street, our values and philosophies dictate everything we do. In addition to being educators focused on delivering the WA curriculum in a way that is meaningful and personal to each individual student, we allow our kids the space to consider and discuss the world around them and home in on the topics that resonate. We value exploring and extending topics that are of interest to, and raised by, our students.
Last week, BTN covered the Black Lives Matter movement and the police brutality cases and riots currently occurring in the United States. As regular BTN watchers, our Year 4/5/6 class was prompted to question and research further in order to understand exactly what is happening over there at the moment and why.
Our class inquiry initially focused on the late George Floyd and the words, “I can’t breathe,” something that our art teacher, Caroline, also covered with students last week. The impetus of that initial prompt led our students to learn that in 2015, a Dungutto man named David Dungay Jr died in Long Bail Jail in New South Wales. David’s last words were also, sadly, “I can’t breathe.”
Not content to leave it there, our students delved further into the ways the Black Lives Matter movement impacts us here in Australia, and particularly on Whadjuk Nyungar Country. We learned that Nyungar people are the most incarcerated people on Earth and that Aboriginal children make up 70% of the juvenile detention population and that at least 432 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have died whilst in custody since the publication of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991.
We reflected on those facts and on everything we had covered on systemic racism, intergenerational trauma and disadvantage during reconciliation week.
Penultimately, our 4/5/6 class spoke more about the Black Lives Matter movement, having watched Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech, and outtakes of the documentary “The Australian Dream” which follows the story of Adam Goodes. We explored our feelings, common phrases, and our personal hopes and dreams for moving forward productively and together. Our students were incredibly engaged and showed true passion for their learning.
One student asked, “Why can’t people understand basic human rights, and treat everyone equally?”
Another stated, “WE – as in EVERYONE – are responsible for making racism extinct.”
Our students completed their inquiry journey by detailing what their dreams are for the future. They then asked, “How can we share our dreams with our community?”
So… here we are.
At Kerry Street, we act with care and love, mindful of our place in the wider world. And we are really proud of our kids.
#BlackLivesMatter #AboriginalLivesMatter #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe #WeStandTogether