Perth student receives death threats as anti-vaccination presence in schools escalates

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The WA Education Minister slammed the “intimidating” and “intimidating” anti-vaccination protesters who staged rallies at schools across the state, after allegations that a protester clashed with a student and told them “I might as well shoot you now.”

Protests have intensified around Western Australia as the state government continues to roll out COVID-19 vaccination and prepares to introduce mandatory jabs for much of the workforce.

Education Minister Sue Ellery said she heard reports of “extremist” behavior at a school in Perth.

“There was an incident yesterday at the Metropolitan School where there was a protester up front engaged in a conversation with a student, it is alleged, and in connection with that conversation, the protester said words from the “Well, I might as well shoot you right now,” Ms. Ellery said.

Anti-vax protesters have shown up at Margaret River High School twice this week.(ABC South West)

“It’s outrageous to make that kind of comment to a student.

“To organize a peaceful demonstration is one thing, to bully and threaten children is really pathetic, it is insane. “

She said police were investigating the incident and other reports of unruly protest behavior.

Calls for buffer zones around WA schools

Twice this week, protesters rallied outside Margaret River Senior High School, prompting calls from parents for buffer zones in schools, similar to laws introduced earlier this year to prevent picketing near health clinics. ‘abortion.

Protesters in front of a school
Police must have attended a protest outside the high school in Southwest Washington State.(ABC South West)

Misti Lyness has children at Margaret River High and was uncomfortable with the children being targeted.

“I would like to see buffer zones in all schools so that children can enter safely without being coerced or harassed in any way,” she said.

“I was just wondering if a buffer zone could give the police more power to move people, there are so many places to protest, there is a park just 50 meters from the school, and that is a great place where we would have demonstrations, ”she said. .

Margaret River’s grandmother Lisa Chatwin said she wrote to the WA Minister of Police in support of the move and said it wasn’t just about vaccinations.

“Right now the national conversation and debate is about immunization, but I mean that can change at any time.

Police Minister Paul Papalia said he had received correspondence highlighting concerns over the protests and referred it to WA Police for action.

WADA supports safe zones

The president of the Australian Medical Association WA, Mark Duncan-Smith, has urged the government to introduce safe zones around schools and vaccination clinics.

A man in a black suit speaks at a press conference
AMA WA President Mark Duncan-Smith called the actions or protesters “disgusting and despicable”.(ABC News: James Carmody)

“It must be made very clear to these people that their behavior, their bullying, their use of fear and threat will not be tolerated by our society, especially when they apply it to our young and vulnerable,” he said. -he declares.

“The government should act quickly to protect children from this kind of bullying and bullying, and the potential psychological consequences of it on our children by these pro-disease and delusional fanatics.”

Dr Duncan-Smith called the protesters’ actions “disgusting and despicable”.

Prime Minister “appalled” by “disturbed” demonstrations

WA Premier Mark McGowan criticized the behavior of anti-vaccination protesters who had targeted students getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

“It’s disturbed, it’s scandalous, it’s selfish,” he said.

“Harassing children in their schools or in shopping malls is not the Australian way.

“This kind of conduct borders on urban terrorism.”

Main anti-vax under study

Meanwhile, Ms Ellery said she was investigating reports from the principal of a private college in south Perth, Divine Mercy College., had threatened to close his school rather than receive the COVID-19 jab.

Ms Ellery said she also sought advice on whether the principal of Yangebup middle school could be deprived of the registration of his teacher.

Sue Ellery wearing a white jacket, standing in front of parliament on a rainy day, looking away from the camera.
WA Education Minister Sue Ellery has said anti-vaccine harassment must end.(ABC News: Evelyn Manfield)

“This is a school principal who occupies a position of privilege and power, effectively abusing that position with his own personal opinions against public health advice,” Ms. Ellery said.

Ms Ellery said she sought advice on whether the principal violated the standards of the Teacher Enrollment Board.

“He scared his staff by threatening their jobs, and he scared his school community and parents by suggesting that their children will no longer be able to attend this school.”

The Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe issued a statement expressing disappointment at the anti-vaccination stance reportedly taken by the college.

“Divine Mercy College, although it offers education in the Catholic tradition, is an independent school completely separate from Catholic Education Western Australia Ltd,” he said.

“Accordingly, the College of Divine Mercy is subject to its own governing body.

“The position promoted by the Principal of the College is not the position of the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth, nor does it represent the position clearly stated by Pope Francis, who has indicated that it is” an act of love. »To receive immunizations in order to protect the common good and the health and well-being of our community. “

In response to a request for comment from the CBA, Divine Mercy College said it “is seeking legal advice on this matter and will prepare an official statement in the near future.”

The “worrying” school demonstrations

Washington State Council for State School Organizations chief Pania Turner said school protests were an emerging issue that was “absolutely a cause for concern” if they caused stress for students and their families.

Photo of Pania Turner, President of WACSSO
WACSSO President Pania Turner said students should be able to go to school without being harassed.(ABC News: Provided)

“It’s a new thing that we are seeing and something that we are following closely,” she said.

“I know parents will be very concerned if the situation that occurred in Margaret River becomes a regular thing or more and more frequent in our schools.

“We will work with the ministry to explore all options to ensure that students can enjoy their learning and enjoy going to school without being bullied. “

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