Step in right direction after school shoe controversy
A WORKING party will be established to review the uniform policy at The Gap State High School after a fiery meeting of parents at the school last night.
Around 80 parents turned up for the school's P&C meeting, with many angry their children had been given detention for wearing black leather shoes that had been deemed non-compliant by the school.
Some said their children were stressed and anxious over the uniform crackdown.
The meeting had to be moved to the school library to accommodate the number of parents who turned out for the forum, which listed the uniform issue as one of the last to be discussed.
The meeting heard a working group would be set up to review the school uniform policy and dress code that was last revamped in 2004.
The group is expected to meet monthly and consist of students, teachers, parents and members of the community.
Members of the group will be selected from next week, with the working party to establish the timeline for the review.
Principal Anne McLauchlan came face to face with parents, with many furious about the new stringent shoe demands.
The debate was sparked two weeks ago when parent Karen Bishop bought new black leather Vans lace-ups for her daughter.
But in her first week at school, she found her shoes on the banned list in her student planner.
"The shoes must protect the upper side of the student's foot and have a leather upper. Slip-on, Mary-Jane, slipper style, Vans or Dr Marten style boots/shoes are NOT accepted. Proper arch support is required," it said.
The student planner said students "are required to wear black leather lace up school shoes, which have a heel, no greater than 20mm no lower than 5mm".
Mrs Bishop's daughter was given detention over her shoes two weeks ago, but that was lifted after Mrs Bishop complained, and the school said they would provide her with a pair of shoes.
Since the school year began, students with non-compliant footwear must report to the school's administration building to obtain a uniform pass, and more than 100 have been given detention.
Some students complained the process of going to the office took nearly an hour, forcing them to miss time in class.
One student was also suspended last week after he posted a video to Facebook that showed scores of students assembling to be dealt with for wearing non-compliant uniform.
At last night's meeting, a parent said her child was stressed about coming to school, and was scared about receiving detention over their uniform.
Ms McLauchlan said the school would be "pressing pause" on the shoe issue for term one, and that no more detentions would be issued providing students were wearing black leather shoes.
Another parent said her child had been given a pair of shoes by the school that didn't conform to their uniform policy either.
"I bought the shoes and I don't think my child should be punished for that," she said.
Another mother said her son no longer played soccer in his compliant school shoes because they were uncomfortable.
"And I think that's really sad," she said.
One parent said she had no idea she'd bought the wrong school shoes until she was told she had 24 hours to get new ones.
"I'm not doing this to rebel but this is a waste of money," another said.
But there were parents who supported the school's tough stance on the uniform.
"We got the rules and we understood them. Rules are rules," one dad said.
Another mum thanked the principal for the uniform crackdown, saying her son took notes when the subject was raised at school last year, and that his behaviour had improved in proper uniform.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart," she said.
Ms McLauchlan added staff feedback had been very positive about improved student behaviour after the renewed focus on the uniform.
The uniform review will also look at shorts for girls after several parents called for the option for their daughters.
Mrs Bishop also attended the meeting and described it as positive, and was optimistic about what the working party could achieve.
"I'm not in this to create chaos. I think the school is acting on it (the shoe issue)," she said.
"By putting a working party together... they've handled it beautifully."