Should a state school really be giving kids detention for having heels on their shoe that are slightly too low?
Angry Brisbane parents have taken to social media to complain about their kids’ high school threatening to do just that.
At The Gap State High School, students have been told that the heels on their black leather lace-up shoes must be between 5mm and 20mm. Any lower or higher, and they face detention.
One mum, Karen Bishop, posted on Facebook that she had bought her daughter a pair of black leather lace-up shoes without being aware of the heel height requirement. Now she’s found that those shoes aren’t acceptable.
“I’ve just paid $350 for a resource scheme and just don’t have the funds for compliant shoes,” she wrote. “Just give my child an education, please.”
Yesterday, Bishop was reported in The Courier-Mail as saying that her daughter had been given detention, but that was lifted after she spoke to the school’s deputy principal. The deputy principal had said the school would buy compliant shoes for her daughter to wear.
“He said they’ve already bought pairs of shoes for other kids,” she added.
Another mum from the school, Natalie Flynn-Cannon, says she thinks it’s “ridiculous” that the school is being so strict over the height of heels.
“For a state school, I feel that more important things should be focused on,” she tells Mamamia. “My daughter is comfortable in her shoes. They are black leather lace-up. But because they believe that the heel height is too low, I have to get new ones. Vans cost $130. I’m not buying new ones.
“The school has offered to buy her new Kmart shoes that ‘fit’ the look they want. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great gesture, but I’m sure the quality won’t be as great or as comfortable.
“I’m furious that such a stupid thing like a pair of shoes has my daughter worrying about detention instead of her schoolwork.”
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Mamamia contacted the school for a comment, and a spokesperson from the Department of Education and Training replied.
“In the last weeks of term four 2017, the student dress code issues were raised during a full school assembly advising the student body of the school’s expectations, and students were to make arrangements to get ready for next year,” the spokesperson said.
“Together with this assembly the following four weekly newsletters to families contained the dress code guide for parents.”
The spokesperson pointed Mamamia to the school’s uniform policy. However, this only contains the wording “black leather lace-up shoes”.
Amanda Mergler from Girls’ Uniform Agenda says she’s “not at all surprised” that a state high school would be so strict about something like heel height.
“We’re seeing more and more state high schools cracking down across the board on all sorts of things,” she explains. “One of the reasons for that is the competition between the state and the private schools. So state schools are vying to market themselves as being just as good as private schools.
“I’ve had P&Cs and principals say, ‘We’re trying to attract double-income parents, we’re trying to attract the best families,’ which is all really offensive. They believe – and they’re not wrong – that their uniform is a way of marketing the school. We have a number of state high schools, particularly in Brisbane, that are fierce about their uniform, and they will just refuse to listen to parents and girls.”