NOT DETERRED: Students at All Saints College St Peter’s campus in Maitland sat in the rain to draw attention to asylum seekers. Picture: Ryan Osland
AROUND 200 students gave up power and furniture and sat in the rain, using silence to draw attention to the plight of the marginalised.
The students from year 7 to 10 at All Saints College St Peter’s campus in Maitland participated yesterday in the school’s 2013 Social Justice Awareness Day.
For the first two periods, which run for one hour each, there was no electricity used. Even the school bell was out of action. For the next two periods, there was no furniture.
Campaign organiser and teacher Ryan Gato said, ‘‘It’s a chance for the kids to experience the needs of the marginalised and place themselves in someone else’s shoes’’.
The feature of the day occurred at lunch time, where 25 minutes was spent sitting in rows of desks in the school yard in silence.
This was carried out in conjunction with the Australian Coalition’s Detention 4 Detention campaign, which has an overall aim to encourage the nation’s leaders to remove the mandatory detention of children seeking refuge in Australia.
The rain certainly didn’t deter the students’ passion.
Year 10 student Cassidy-Rae Shadlow said, ‘‘I think that it shows people care about it if they’re willing to sit in the rain, so that’s really good.
‘‘There’s a lot of kids these days that say it isn’t their problem, but it’s going to be our problem in a few years from now,’’ she said. But the protesting didn’t stop there.
Overnight, 85 students and 15 staff took part in a Sleep Out at the school, in order to create awareness for the homeless.
School principal Michael Blake said, ‘‘It’s a great way for students to step out of their comfort zone ... and reflect on what they can do to make a difference.’’