Thursday, 29 October 2015

'Privilege' breeds contempt....and it goes viral

This report appeared in yesterday's Age but since then there has been a 'truckload' written about it online.

Quote from the radio recently

"Half the reason we send our children to private schools... [is to] realise they are part of an elite group," private school parent 'Zara' tells 3AW's Neil Mitchell.

"Povo" state school students who were mocked on social media by VCE students from Xavier College have turned the tables on their tormentors. 
The supposedly lesser-educated public school students spotted and corrected numerous spelling and grammatical errors by the private school bullies in one of their Facebook posts.( Povo apparently means poverty or poor)

The night before Wednesday's VCE English exam, one Xavier College student called state school students "povo f---s"  on a popular VCE discussion page on Facebook.

The 18-year-old said he was "eternally grateful" that his parents had sent him to a good, private school instead of a "poverty stricken s---hole in Pakenham".
"People often say that paying to send your kids to a private school is not worth it but when [I] read what you povo f---- post on this page I'm eternally grateful to my parents," he wrote.

"You give me hope because [I] know there are so many more retards like you out there that I will easily beat tomorrow and over the next two weeks. I hope you all f--- up really bad so [I] can see your posts tomorrow."
He signed off his post by saying: "Remember to say hi to me when I'm your boss one day."

Girls who replied to the post were reportedly told to shut up and "let the men handle business".
Not only did the public school students vigorously defend their education, one even took a red pen to the Xavier College student's comment.
The state school student highlighted the Xavier student's poor punctuation, spelling errors and use of offensive words and colloquial language.
He then marked the private school teen's post, giving it a D+.( I think they were lenient)
"Please take time to proof read next time ... have some decency too please. See me after class," he added.
The Xavier student responsible for the original comment posted an apology on the forum late on Wednesday.
( This isn't the first time  Xavier College has been in the news in a negative way....I think they may have a 'culture' or leadership problem. Not a very 'Christian' outlook from this student!)

In a post on the VCE discussion page, which has more than 36,000 members, an administrator said on Thursday that Facebook was "investigating whether to remove the group or not" after the posts.
"We ask that members discuss the incident away from this forum to prevent anything from happening," the administrator wrote.
Reports of the exchange have prompted discussions about elitism in the wider community.
One caller to radio station 3AW ( certainly not the one quoted above) said her children, whom she sent to private schools, were well aware of their privileged status in society. ( I don't think it is a privilege. I think it is simply a choice. I've posted data before proving that a private school education, especially in primary school does not give you any kind of 'edge' over state school students.)

Then there is the contrary view: "I'm happy for them to walk around with their nose in the air," the woman, known as Zara, said.
"We are all equal, but there are classes. That's the world ... there are a lot of classes throughout the world and it's silly to think that there isn't."
She said her children would never fall on hard times financially, as she would provide them with money, or have them work in the family business.
"That's what you do as a parent," she said.
However, Zara qualified her comments by saying she encouraged her children to be "thankful" for their privileged lives. ( I think I'd say pampered and insulated rather than privileged.)
In an email to 3AW, a mother of three Xavier boys said elitism was bred at home, not at the school.
"My sons are not brats. They understand I sacrificed a lot to educate them ... working three jobs," the mother, known only as Julie, wrote.
"In my opinion, the elitist values displayed in this case, by these boys, is a reflection of the inadequacies of their home life, not a reflection of school values or practices."
Berwick Lodge Primary School principal Henry Grossek acknowledged that state school students were also often behind the sledging.
"The insults go backwards and forwards," he said.
"The fact that the insults go back the other way show just how deeply entrenched this sort of elitism is in our society."
Mr Grossek said he believed elitist attitudes were bred at home, but it appeared Xavier College was not doing enough to combat them.
"Bullying happens in my school ... and I have to be proactive in advance. I have to be three steps ahead of it. 
"Where's the pro-activity in the school to work against those sorts of attitudes?"
Xavier College principal Dr Chris Hayes said the school had investigated the "appalling" post and disciplined the student.
"The derogatory language and sentiments within the post are highly offensive and go against all that we stand for at our school," he said.
Dr Hayes said the student had offered an unreserved apology and was "very sorry for his actions".
"We are aware that other students have posted further comments," he said.
"Xavier College is treating this matter very seriously and is taking disciplinary action against those concerned.
"This inexcusable behaviour deeply hurts our whole school community."
Former Xavier student Bill Shorten said the comments were stupid and silly.( Then again Bill thinks people need penalty rates to pay private school tuition!)
"The Jesuits who talk me taught us to be a man for others, they taught us about social justice, helping people, that's what I believe."
Catholic Education Melbourne also hit out at the comments, which they described as offensive. 
"We teach both rich and poor students in our schools right across Victoria and are all outraged at offensive comments that attack people on the basis of status or material wealth," Catholic Education Executive Director Stephen Elder said.
"Catholic education's mission is to turn children, immature as some may be, into outstanding young adults and Catholic schools cannot be judged by the unacceptable behaviour of a handful of individuals." ( Yeah, good on ya Elder)
I have seen this attitude in Ballarat, in town after school from students attending one so called elite school in particular and especially on boat day and events like that but my daughter has 3 good friends who attend private schools in Ballarat and they are lovely girls and good friends. Maybe this boy is a product of bad leadership at his school, parents like the appalling 'Zara' or maybe he had a bit too much to drink or maybe he was trying to 'take the piss' and went too far?

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