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Wed, 12 Sep, 2018Basmah Qazi

Queensland schoolgirl threatened with suspension after refusing to stand for national anthem

Queensland schoolgirl threatened with suspension after refusing to stand for national anthem

A nine-year-old schoolgirl is facing suspension after she refused to stand for Australia’s national anthem.

Brisbane’s Kenmore South State School student Harper Nielsen, chose to protest against Advance Australia Fair, as she claimed it was not inclusive of indigenous Australians.

The Courier-Mail reported that the Year 4 student was given an ultimatum of either standing or leaving the building.

When she refused to do either, the school issued Harper a detention card for “blatant disrespect.” She was then told that she could leave the office premises until she had signed a written apology and that she could be suspended.

The event that occurred has caused major outrage throughout radio and television.

Infamous Alan Jones and controversial commentator Mark Latham believes Harper was “defying the school.”

“We used to have special schools for children with behaviour problems,” said Latham on the 4BC radio show. “Not standing is a behavioural problem, so kick her out.”

Jones agreed with Latham’s sentiments, as he too was furious at the young girl’s decision.

“What on earth do you do … other than call the parents in and say ‘listen, these are the rules here if you don’t like them you do as we say or go somewhere else because we’re not accommodating you.”

Speaking to The Courier-Mail, Harper said that the line in the national anthem, “for we are young and free”, excluded Aboriginal people who lived in Australia for tens of thousands of years post-colonisation.

Jones who was offended by this statement said that “colonisation brought the kind of tremendous wealth that all Australians now enjoy.”

Latham went on to add: “The school only exists because of colonisation, what sort of fools are these?”

But despite the grilling on 4BC, Harper has received a lot of support online.

“I do applaud her for considering the words of the national anthem, a lot of people just rattle it off and don’t consider the meaning and I also applaud her strength of character to stand up for what she believes in,” said Today show host Georgie Gardner.

But co-host Karl Stefanovic attacked the parents, believing they’re the real problem.

“Her parents are obviously supporting her, and I think that’s the big problem here, her parents are supporting her in a way that I don’t think is appropriate,” he said.

“The schools have rules, I’m exasperated by this this morning so if you don’t like that as a parent, if you don’t like that your child will have to stand for the anthem then go somewhere else. Schools have rules and they have to be abided by.”

Whose side are you on? Let us know in the comments below.

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