After hundreds detained, school’s shoe ban is ‘common sense’
THE Queensland government is backing a Brisbane high school that marched more than a hundred students to detention this week for wearing the wrong shoes.
The Gap State High School has been at the centre of national debate for the past week after one mother hit out at the public school's uniform policy which bans students from wearing a number of shoes, including ones with heels higher than 20mm.
In a statement released late yesterday, Education Minister Grace Grace said she supports the school's principal and called for "common sense".
"I support The Gap State High School principal and the school community's actions in enforcing the uniform policy and urge all parties to take a common sense approach and work together to resolve this issue at the school level," she said.
Ms Grace said she had been advised there'd been no changes to the uniform policy since 2004, a policy that had been formulated between the school and the P&C.
"The Gap State High School is not the only high school that enforces a uniform policy. It is common practice across Queensland state schools and uniform policies are always determined through consultation with the local school community," she added.
It was rumoured yesterday that students were planning on staging a mass protest against the school after 103 of them were given detention slips.
The school's uniform policy has also angered parents, who say they can't afford to discard black leather shoes that were acceptable in previous years.
In addition to Ms Grace's statement about the unchanged policy, a spokesman for the Department of Education said the percentage of punished students was small.
"Since the return to school in 2018, a relatively small number of students (less than 100 out of more than 1450 students) have not fully complied with agreed standards.
"The school is working with these students and their parents around this so that all students meet the expectations that have been set by the community," he said.
On behalf of the school, the department spokesman said the Brisbane high school was happy with the support it had received.
"The Gap State High School is very pleased with the overwhelming majority support of the school community regarding uniform standards and is focusing on the vast improvements in student pride in their appearance that is evident this year. School staff will continue to work with families to assist students to meet community expectations around the uniform. This school has high expectations and high results," he said.
Last week, parent Karen Bishop took to social media to vent her frustration about buying her daughter a new pair of leather Vans for the 2018 school year before being told they weren't compliant.
Her daughter received a detention but after Ms Bishop's complaint, the deputy principal decided against the punishment and offered to buy her a new pair of shoes.
"He was very good in the way he dealt with me, but they will not change their stance on compliance, and the way they're getting around it by the looks of it is, they're buying a range of shoes and they'll get the kids up to pick a pair, try them on and they'll buy them. The school's paying for them," Ms Bishop said last week.
"He said they've already bought pairs of shoes for other kids. This is the first time I've heard of this happening."
The Department spokesman said the state's schools are committed to support kids and parents who may not be able to afford uniforms that comply with the rules.
"Queensland state schools are committed to working with families to find the best solution regarding genuine issues of hardship experienced by families including uniform-related issues," he said.
A P&C meeting is scheduled for next Monday night on February 12 where parents will be able to voice their concerns.