by SAM PAIOR
As a member of my kids’ school governing council, twice each term I get to sit and listen to the principal, staff and parents complain about electricity bills, the doors that need to be replaced, the graffiti on the windows, the private piano teacher using space for free, the war relic canteen pie warmer with its own staph colony, and school uniform.
Mostly, I try to engage and offer something meaningful, and to not drift away as members earnestly discuss whether we should stock the MSG free hot dogs in the canteen, or whether our after school care should set debt collectors on the non-payers.
But talking about school uniforms actually got kinda interesting.
My kids are at a regular local government school. The kind where, when I was a kid, we didn’t have to wear a uniform at all. At about eight years old, I switched into a state school from a relatively exclusive private school, so on my first day of term two, grade three, not knowing any better, my parents sent me to school in a white collared shirt, school pinafore, long socks and a school tie. Yep, my Mum put me in a tie at state primary school. I still bear the scars.
Our local school today doesn’t have actual shirts, let alone ties. We have a school polo t’shirt, zip up fleece jackets and school colour pants and shorts. The girls get those options, as well as a skort (skirt with in-built shorts), pinafore or summer dress.
We don’t have monogrammed school socks, and the kids’ footwear is open slather. I mean that. Kids wear anything from flimsy plastic sandals, to footy boots, to crocs, to knee length vinyl heeled boots. Note to parents: your children cannot actively participate in fitness and sports activities wearing those stupid shoes.
The girls will wear pink socks, purple socks, socks with rainbow stripes. They even wear those heinous three quarter length “leggings” in any colour, with lace trim which ends below their summer dress, and above the lace on their orange striped socks. It’s not – believe me – a good look.