• Students with a "Sorry" placard. Parent's have overwhelmingly praised the school and the play. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
A complaint from a high profile parent about a school play on the Stolen Generation has drawn in radio shock jock, Ray Hadley and News Corporation papers.
Robert Burton-Bradley

17 Aug 2017 - 11:58 AM  UPDATED 17 Aug 2017 - 11:31 AM

A large number of parents have expressed praise and support for a primary school play on the Stolen Generation after it was denounced as 'inappropriate' on radio and in News Corporation reports this morning.

This morning former Socceroo Robbie Slater who was in the audience expressed his outrage to News Corporation local paper The Manly Daily claiming it was "disgusting".

The play involving year six students at Forestville Public school, which sits in Tony Abbott's electorate of Warringah, depicted a re-enactment of nuns abusing Indigenous children.

“It’s a great school but this was serious misjudgment; little children should not be exposed to that,” Slater told the paper.

2GB radio host Ray Hadley picked up on the reports and denounced the play on air for its depiction of the treatment of the Stolen Generation.

"If these imbeciles want to do this at a five and six-year-old’s school concert, let them do it as themselves", he told listeners.

“But don’t use little kids carrying placards to do it and don’t put parents in the situation of having to clap for their own children even though they’re appalled by what’s happening.”

Hadley reportedly was contacted by "parents" about the play but did not say who they were, or how many complained. 

However NITV News can reveal a school newsletter published after the play on Monday, and before the reports in the Manly Daily, contained six separate letters from parents and grandparents praising the production.

"We attended last night's performance and both came away happy and proud,” wrote one grandparent. “I personally have worried that not enough Indigenous history is being taught in our schools and so it was great to see the cast tackle the Stolen Generation." 

Another, who said she was a retired school principal wrote: "We were pleased to see that at last the truth is being taught about Australia's "discovery" by Captain Cook, as well as our treatment of the Stolen Generation.” In the Manly Daily story this comment was wrongly attributed to the school.

"Discomfort should not be a reason not to teach our children about the facts of important events in Australia's history."

One parent praised the concert as "amazing".

"Most of all, my husband and I feel so grateful that our son is being taught the right values whilst learning about our true Australian heritage," she wrote.

More parents took to Facebook to praise the play and Nina Mapson Bone was one of them. She posted an open letter about the incident on her Facebook account.

"The play was factual, not political. I understand that it might make some people uncomfortable but discomfort should not be a reason not to teach our children about the facts of important events in Australia's history," she wrote.

"To the teachers and children of the school I say this, thank you for the amazing effort you put in, well done on an outstanding production and I am sorry that by telling the truth you have been scrutinised in this way."

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes issued an apology for "anyone offended" by the play.

Minister Stokes said in a statement provided to NITV News that a report had been requested from the Department of Education on the incident following complaints.

“I am aware of concerns in the community about content covered in a recent student concert about Australian history held by Forestville Public School." the statement read.

“While acknowledging the event was well intentioned, I wish to apologise to anyone who was offended by any of the performance.”

A spokesman for the Department said: "The department of education is currently looking into the matter".

Neither the minister's office or the Department would comment on if there had been any complaints other than those aired by Slater, and if any other complaints had been made prior to the News Corp and 2GB reports.

The outrage follows a similar incident in June when a single parent at St Justin's Catholic primary school in Sydney claimed “emotional abuse” because of an educational program about the Stolen Generation.

The reports that multiple parents had been outraged was later found to be untrue and a media beat-up according to other parents at the school.


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