Students in ‘day of dissent’ over uniforms

DOZENS of Brisbane high school students are participating in a "day of dissent", defying its dress code to protest against a change to its uniform policy.

The protest at Kenmore State High School on Monday varied from some students simply wearing non-compliant socks to shirts not being tucked in while others changed the colour of their hair.

The "day of dissent" was organised by parents and students to display their dissatisfaction in the school's recently appointed executive principal Paul Robertson.

 

Students at Kenmore State High School are protesting a recent change to the school's uniform policy in a 'day of dissent'. Picture: Darren Cartwright
Students at Kenmore State High School are protesting a recent change to the school's uniform policy in a 'day of dissent'. Picture: Darren Cartwright

 

After more than a decade of the school allowing students allowing to choose between wearing the formal or sports uniforms to school, Mr Robertson, who was formally appointed principal this year, has told parents the formal uniform must be worn every day in 2020.

Parent and P&C Vice President Michael Sheehan was pleased with the number of students who participated but said it would have been more had Year 12 students joined in.

 

Kenmore State High School. Picture: Darren Cartwright
Kenmore State High School. Picture: Darren Cartwright

 

"I was told that Year 12 students on a WhatsApp messaging site planning for their end-of-year graduating function that they could be excluded from the function or suspended if they were involved," Mr Sheehan said.

The change in policy from optional formal wear to students being made to wear it every day next year follows on from changes that were introduced this year.

For the first time this decade, Year 7 students had to wear the formal uniform every day while Year 8-12 students made to wear the formal outfit only on Mondays.

Documents seen by The Courier-Mail show that the profit from uniform sales jumped 57 per cent from $85,053 in 2018 to $134,113 on the back of the policy change.

 

Students at Kenmore State High School are protesting a recent change to the school's uniform policy in a 'day of dissent'. Picture: Darren Cartwright
Students at Kenmore State High School are protesting a recent change to the school's uniform policy in a 'day of dissent'. Picture: Darren Cartwright

 

Mr Sheehan, who has one child that attends Kenmore State High School, said his son would be starting next year and the change in uniform policy would have a financial impact on his household budget.

Not that he's crying poor, but he said there are many families who will feel the financial impost of the new uniform policy and that cannot be underestimated.

He expects the P&C to again be called upon to donate money to assist families who are doing it tough.

"The P&C this year for the first was asked for the first time to give $5,000 to help put families who for socio-economic reasons couldn't afford to upgrade to the formal uniform one day a week," he said.

"The change in policy will cost our family over $500 more that we otherwise would not have had to spend."

There were a number of reasons parents wanted to retain the option of choosing between formal and sports uniform, he said.

"It's (the sports uniform) easier to wash, clean and hand down because it's a unisex uniform," he said.

The Education Department has been contacted for comment.