SWANSEA High students who questioned their teacher's comments about the relevance of a woman's clothing and rape have called for her sacking, saying she "should not be influencing young minds".
Year 10 students Ngara Kennedy, Reece Hill, Natalia Nikolic and Marnie Holl organised a protest outside their school on Monday to call out victim blaming and demand their teacher's sacking, after she made the comments in class last week.
A 29 second video of the teacher's classroom exchange with Reece and other students posted online has been viewed more than 117,000 times and shared more than 1000 times.
"What she said is not okay and if anyone else has that opinion, it needs to be silenced," Ngara, 16, said.
"We need people to know that women and men are equal, men aren't more than women and women aren't more than men."
Reece, 15, said the exchange left her "very upset and very disgusted".
"We want to make sure she's not teaching anyone again," she said.
"A teacher like that shouldn't be influencing young minds who are super impressionable."
Principal Robyn Leggatt wrote to families on Monday and told them the teacher had been relocated to a non-school setting.
"The school deeply regrets the distress these comments have caused," she wrote.
"The comments made by the staff member were wrong: they do not reflect the views of students and staff of Swansea High, nor those of the NSW Department of Education.
"We believe that a women's right to say no is foundational.
"Swansea High is an advocate of student voice and we support students standing up when they believe behaviour is not right."
The department's deputy secretary of school operations and performance, Murat Dizdar, said the department "strongly rejects any assumptions relating to a rape culture in any school, with the alleged comments of its staff member completely inappropriate".
"We expect respectful conduct from students, staff, and school community members and will support anyone who brings disrespectful or harmful behaviour to our attention."
A spokesperson for the department said it continued to investigate the matter.
"The school involved will continue to support students including the provision of counselling if required.
"NSW schools are safe places where students and staff are held to high standards and are encouraged to care and respect themselves and others."
Ngara said they didn't want to "slander" their teacher or their school.
She said the video didn't name the teacher or the school and students continued on Monday not to use the teacher's name because "she is still human and she does have feelings".
Swansea High has deactivated its Facebook page.
"We just want to make our voices be heard and we're using what we have and our platform that has been made for us with this video to help other people who have gone through similar things," Ngara said.
She said students had been "mentored" by women in the field. "It's just very good to have women, well-respected, high-up women supporting this."
The school's electronic noticeboard displayed the message 'We support student voice' as more than 50 students and some parents gathered nearby.
A banner attached to the school fence read 'Not all men have the urge 2 [sic] rape. Women have the right 2 [sic] wear what they want.'
"It's so empowering to know that you're not alone, that people stand with you and you're not the only one holding up a sign, it's very moving," Ngara said.
She said her class told their teacher on Wednesday they wanted to learn about fashion from the 1950s.
The discussion moved to what women wear today and the role of clothing in sexual assault.
Reece said she told the teacher it didn't matter what a woman was wearing, the absence of consent meant no.
"She said it does matter... she said I needed to learn and the problem with my generation is we don't understand."
Swansea MP Yasmin Catley said she was "proud" the students called out "abhorrent behaviour".
"They have said that rape doesn't get caused by wearing a miniskirt, that rape is caused by a rapist," she said.
"There is no doubt in my mind that calling this out for what it is is absolutely 100 per cent the right thing to do."
She said she'd like to see more resources in schools about respectful relationships.
"This is a cultural shift that we need to make through the whole of community, no doubt about that. But it starts here."
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