A REVIEW into a presentation by Kingston Youth Services at Parkdale Secondary College has been completed.
A statement from Kingston Council read “the review found that the presentation included a short activity that – while it was not intended to shame the students, to make them feel uncomfortable or to be malicious in any way – was unwise and an error of judgement. The activity asked students, if they were comfortable, to stand if they were white, straight males from Christian influenced households and told they belong to a group that holds the most privilege in this world. When some students clapped this statement, the presenter responded with an unscripted off-the-cuff comment ‘no, that’s not what we’re doing here. The problem with having the most privilege is you’re also the biggest oppressor’.”
After the program was presented, Kingston councillors were confronted over the issue by a man at a public council meeting. A first-person video of the stunt was uploaded to the Youtube page of a far-right extremist and convicted criminal once described by the state government as a “neo-Nazi sympathiser”. The man was swiftly removed from the meeting, and has since been jailed for unrelated matters.
Kingston Council interim CEO Tim Tamlin said “the intention of our diversity and inclusion program has always been to bring people together, so everyone is included, heard and understood. The independent review found the positive intent of the hour-long presentation was unfortunately lost due to a one-minute unscripted section. We will be taking immediate steps recommended under the review to prevent this from occurring again.”
The review recommended increased supervision of presentation content, the creation of a list of guiding principles such as “treating all individuals with respect, being tolerant of all beliefs and values, refraining from singling out any particular groups such as gender, race, religion, gender identity, and avoiding jargon and complex words”, considering any issues that might arise and designing the program with care, and working from a script “particularly on controversial issues to ensure consistent messaging and quality control”.