Independent Schools Are Places Where People Learn About Compassion On Monday I attended with Queensland Independent School Principals the first of three termly meetings of AHISA Qld (the Principals’ Association) at Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) in Brisbane. Apart from the magnificent venue, the most poignant and significant discussion for me was a somewhat spontaneous non-Agenda item about how Independent Schools are places of very significant learning for Australia’s young people, in relation to the appalling crime that was perpetrated at Christchurch’s Muslim mosque. The Principals’ discussion touched on how Independent Schools focus on aspects of civilised society such as tolerance of difference, mutual respect, learning to be part of a powerful supportive community that does not discriminate; and encouraging young people to be great adders of value and learning to their society. Principal Karen Spiller of John Paul College in Daisy Hill (CCPS’s roots are found in that school so we have a close affinity) mentioned that their school has a ten percent Muslim population as large mosques are in or near their location. She has written to her community with a message of support and affection. The Principals’ discussion was about whether AHISA as a body could comment about Senator Anning’s media commentary following the Christchurch attack on civilization. Karen Spiller commented that individual schools should continue to support their local people because they know their community best. Our staff are proud of their support and tolerance for difference that exists for our children, each of whom is a powerful, acknowledged strong personality and individual. We are a non-denominational school, so we do not support or deny any religion, but our standards and learning philosophy and expectations of behavior, are based on Christian principles. I note that in the early formation of the Christian Church, the Muslim faith and Christianity were closely aligned, as described by Yuval Harari in Homo Deus A Brief History of Tomorrow. It is tragically perhaps no surprise that an isolated boy who was taunted during his childhood turned to individualism, extreme anti-social behavior, and violent destructive computer gaming, rather than being included in a warm, supportive community, such as we have at CCPS, and at other Independent Schools. I firmly hold the view that schools like CCPS are the places where wonderful people are nurtured and encouraged to achieve astounding and great things for their local society, and for our country’s progression. Our students are different, they do stand out from the crowd and they are impressive Alumni following their graduation from our School, taking their place confidently in the world of work with positive and productive social interactions. We also grieve for the community of New Zealand and Christchurch, for whom we especially offer the Muslim community our condolences for this disgusting crime against humanity and for the horror they have experienced. Principal’s Acknowledgements Andrew Pride (Yr 3) has been selected into Caloundra FC’s Under 9 SAP team. Only ten representative teams in QLD have achieved Academy level in each age group and Caloundra is the only one on the Sunshine Coast. Dr Dirk Wellham – Principal

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