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October 16, 2019
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Indigenous students distressed after they were ‘laughed off stage’ during NAIDOC dance performance

SYDNEY: The NSW Government has launched an investigation into Indigenous students claim they laughed off the stage at their western Sydney school while giving a NAIDOC dance performance.

Some 12 pupils at Chifley College Senior Campus in Mt Druitt were left in tears last week after their traditional performance was cut short.

The Gadi Boorong group were halfway through their showcase in front of the entire school when they claim the music stopped and a teacher forced them off stage.

The students complain the crowd laughed at them and racist remarks were passed.

Parent Jennifer Murray said her daughter had been performing and called her after the event.

“She was so emotional, and it was so disheartening to see her come home so distressed,” Ms Murray said.

“It was so inappropriate to stop the performance, especially during NAIDOC week … we love getting out there and sharing our culture but now a lot of the students never want to dance again now.”

NAIDOC Week runs from July 7 to 14 and celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Department of Education said the performance was interrupted due to an unintentional “technical glitch”.

“Department staff at the event did not witness the allegations you have made in your enquiry,” a spokesperson said.

“However, the school and the department do not tolerate racism.

“Chifley College Senior Campus prides itself on being a diverse and harmonious school. Any allegation of racism will be looked into.”

One student involved in the dance took to Facebook to vent their frustration.

“Have students call out to my friends & call them ‘Abo’ because they were picking leaves off a tree for traditional dance,” they posted.