Willunga High School in Adelaide’s south has released a new school uniform policy that has outraged parents and students alike.
In an attempt to raise the standards of student attire, the school has banned more casual forms of dress such as thongs, leggings, fleece boots, and track pants.
It released the policy via its Facebook page, where it stated: “Wearing correct uniform is important as it fosters a sense of pride and responsibility in belonging to our school.”
The new policy, which the school calls “guidelines”, received immediate backlash on social media for what many believe are impossible and unnecessary standards.
Commenters noted that the position of the school near the coast line of South Australia means that the area is particularly cold and windy during winter, thus making the wearing of track pants, and other cold-weather attire, a comfortable and practical option.
Parents were also angry to have received two lists of options of where to make uniform purchases, because the second list, issued a week later, named cheaper discount stores such as Best and Less. Budget-conscious parents noted that this was vital information that could have been used earlier.
Frustrated parents noted that the amendment to the policy, and its immediate implementation (rather than a gradual phasing out), would require new purchases that were not within the short-term budget of many parents.
One parent observed that it was the third change of uniform policy in her daughter's five years of attendance at the school.
Many commenters also claimed that the school did not consult with students or parents about its significant changes.
In response to the backlash, Principal Anthony van Ruiten released an official statement, which said the school had consulted with the governing body before introducing the new dress code. The principal says that late last year, parents were officially notified of the guidelines via a school letter.
"This has animated some in the school community and I’m always open to discussing any issues directly with parents and students to explain the thinking behind the uniform policy and the process we went through," he said.
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