Friday, 16 November, 2018

Harper Nielsen: Australian schoolgirl's national anthem protest

Harper Nielsen refused to stand for the anthem Harper Nielsen refused to stand for the anthem
Patty Aguilar | 14 September, 2018, 11:07

"I do applaud her for considering the words of the national anthem, a lot of people just rattle it off and don't consider the meaning and I also applaud her strength of character to stand up for what she believes in", Today show host Georgie Gardner said this morning.

While I agree that Harper's anthem boycott may have been largely in part due to conversations with her parents and a result of her upbringing, the truth of the matter is that Harper's courage should be admired.

The grade 4 student said the decision to take a stand by sitting down was made "mostly" by herself, but she did discuss the subject with her parents, who say they could "not be more proud" of their daughter's actions.

The Australian schoolgirl who refused to stand during the singing of the national anthem at assembly out of respect for the Indigenous population is receiving worldwide applause and global media attention.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee as the United States national anthem was played to protest racism.

Former Wallabies rugby coach turned radio shock jock, Alan Jones, suggested her parents be told to leave the school if they disagreed with "the rules".

Prominent politicians have attacked Nielsen and have asked the school to kick her out.

"When it says "we are young" it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us for over 50,000 years", she said.

'If it's good enough for Cathy Freeman, Johnathon Thurston, and Warren Mundine to stand for the National anthem, it should be good enough for this nine-year-old brat'.

She added: "I just imagine what it would feel like for all of your friends to be singing the anthem if you were an indigenous person, that makes me determined to keep going".

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Primary school student Harper Nielsen was given a lunch time detention on Friday for peacefully protesting against the song she said is "wrong".

Controversial commentator Mark Latham spoke to 4BC about the matter, saying Harper's silent protest was a "behavioural problem" and she should be kicked out of school, while others blamed her parents for raising a disobedient child.

But the stance has angered Senator Hanson, who posted a video on Facebook on Wednesday calling for Harper to be kicked out of school.

"I'm angry about this ..."

Queensland Liberal National politician Jarrod Bleijie, the state's shadow minister for Education, called Nielsen a "brat".

'Stop the silly protest and stand and sing proudly your National Anthem.

"Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus and Martin Luther King said "when that woman sat down I stood up", he said.

The department denied claims Nielsen is facing suspension of exclusion due to her stance.

A spokesperson for the Queensland state education department said the school had offered Harper the choice of remaining outside the hall during the anthem or simply not singing.

Harper's father, Mark Nielsen, on 9 News called his daughter a "very fearless young person" for taking a stand.

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