Teachers try to halt protest

MORE than 250 Richmond River High School students were stopped by teachers when they attempted to march on the office of State Lismore MP Thomas George to protest against a proposed super school.

Senior students organised the lunch-time protest against the new school – which would see students from the Richmond River, Kadina and Wilson Park high schools and Nimbin Central School channelled to the Lismore High School for Years 11 and 12.

Teachers attempted to talk the students out of marching, but more than 100 decided to continue with the protest. “The teachers were freaking out,” one student said.

About half the students made it out of the grounds and were pursued by teachers on foot and in cars.

“The teachers said if we didn't turn back we would be in a lot oftrouble,” the student said.

Senior students encouraged younger students to turn back in order to avoid disciplinary action. However, about 50 students continued to the MP's office where they chanted, “No super school, super school sucks”.

At 1pm an emergency assembly was called at which the school captains addressed the students to tell them what they had done was wrong.

Principal Chris Watkins reportedly told the assembly rumours about a super school were not credible.

Yesterday, the NSW Department of Education continued to deny there were any plans for a super school, but said “any proposal for significant closer working between schools would be put to students, parents and staff from the very outset”.

NSW Teachers Federation North Coast organiser Nicole Major said she could confirm senior education department staff had briefed Education Minister Adrian Piccoli about a proposal for a Lismore super school.

“There have been talks at a local level and higher levels,” she said.

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