Nowra High School investigates ‘highly inappropriate’ online survey ahead of year 10 event
A New South Wales high school is investigating an online survey where Year 10 students were allegedly encouraged to nominate their classmates for a series of sexist and racist awards.
Year 10 students at Nowra High on the state’s south coast had been planning an end-of-year celebration, which the school said was not an official formal.
Nowra High principal Glen Kingsley yesterday sent a letter to parents, saying the school did not accept responsibility for the event.
An online survey reportedly encouraged students to nominate their classmates for a series of racist and sexist awards, including “biggest bong lord”, “best Asian”, and “biggest rack”.
The survey was distributed online among students on a platform outside of official school channels and has since been taken down.
A NSW Department of Education spokesman said the school was investigating who was responsible for the event and the survey.
“The school is deeply disappointed by the actions of students who have organised the event and created the highly inappropriate online survey,” the spokesman said.
“Any students found to have been involved will be counselled and disciplined according to the school’s disciplinary policy.
“Nowra High School prides itself on its values of learning, respect, responsibility and safety and this survey is contrary to the many programs the school has to combat bullying and measures put in place to support students’ mental health needs.”
Year 10s ‘not wired up yet’, says psychologist
Child and adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said while the survey was “clearly sexist and racist”, students of that age often had an inability to predict the consequences of their actions.
“What you have to remember about year 10s is that they might have a hundred billion brain cells and a thousand trillion connections, but they’re not all wired up yet,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.
“Clearly a rational human being wouldn’t have put something like this out, but of course when you’re in year 10 perhaps you don’t have that world perspective, so from a development perspective, we would expect this to happen.”
Dr Carr-Gregg said such a survey could have many mental health implications.
“If you receive one of these awards you’re not going to feel terribly good about yourself, the most important thing about this is to explain to the young people why it’s inappropriate,” he said.
Nowra High School sent a letter to parents distancing itself from the year 10 ‘formal’. (Supplied: Nowra High)