Stay-in-class instruction over Palestine student strike

Victorian schools will be instructed not to turn a blind eye to students walking out of classrooms for a pro-Palestine rally in Melbourne.

Organisers of a school strike for Palestine are encouraging students to knock off early on Thursday and head to Flinders Street Station.

An open letter to Premier Jacinta Allan and her deputy,  Education Minister Ben Carroll, which has attracted more than 6000 signatures, has called on the pair to take a forceful stance against the protest.

"While the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression is a cornerstone of our democratic society, the involvement of school children in the rally is unacceptable and should be called out as such in clear terms," it said.

"Although the government has communicated its expectation that students attend school in preference to the rally, the messaging to date has been confusing and made more so by media reporting."

The letter's unnamed author, who described themselves as a concerned community member, raised concerns about how the rally would affect Jewish students and accused organisers of targeting and exploiting school children.

"Most students in Victorian schools will not have a direct connection or a comprehensive (if any) understanding of the attacks on Israel and war in Gaza," the letter read.

In response, Ms Allan reiterated Thursday was a school day and she expected students to remain in class.

That advice will be formally communicated to schools by Victoria's education department on Tuesday, she said.

All students in Victorian government schools are taught about the Holocaust as part of the state's World War II history curriculum.

"If you're wanting to understand the world that we are living in and some of the turmoil that we are seeing in the world, then school is the best place to get that learning and understanding," the premier said.

Ms Allan, a mother of two, noted students can be away for a range of reasons each day but schools are quick to follow up with parents when they are absent without leave.

Opposition education spokeswoman Jess Wilson wants the government to support schools to communicate to parents and students why the strike is divisive and the political ramifications around it.

"What this strike actually puts in front of us is potential disunity on the streets, potential disunity in the classroom and pitting students against each other," she said.

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