Australian school apologises for Hitler costume prize
- 27 August 2010
- From the section Asia-Pacific
A Catholic school in Australia has apologised to parents after teachers awarded a costume prize to a child dressed as Adolf Hitler.
The class of nine- and 10-year-olds had been asked to dress up as famous people at the school in Western Australia.
Teachers declared the winner to be a boy who dressed as the Nazi leader, who was wearing an outfit featuring the swastika.
The principal said in hindsight the school would have done it differently.
The school in Perth, which has not been identified, was forced to apologise after complaints from the public that the costume was distasteful.
In an interview with the West Australian newspaper, the headteacher said he believed people had made a "mountain out of a molehill" out of the issue.
He said that "some people got upset because kids called out Hitler", but said that they had just been voicing their opinions on who should win.
He defended the school's actions, describing it as a "one-off thing", and adding that Hitler "was a fairly famous person".
In his letter to parents, he said similar activities would be restricted to characters "appropriate for primary school-aged students".
Parents were also told children would be taught to understand the "sensitivities" that surround certain figures.
The school was also criticised for allowing the children to dress up as vampires and the grim reaper, he told the newspaper.
Last week, another school in western Australia received widespread criticism after a teacher asked students to plan a terrorist attack as part of an assignment.
The assignment was later withdrawn.