Mum blasts petty reasons students are getting detention
WEARING a hair band around your wrist, having socks that are too short and leaving your locker unlocked - these are just some of the reasons one private school is giving out detentions, and one Townsville mum is fed up.
Jo, a mum of five, says her youngest daughter Jemma received a detention this week for leaving her locker unlocked - breaking one of what she says is a "never ending" list of rules.
"My daughter studies very hard, was on the student council, helps other kids with their school work, volunteers for absolutely everything, and this is what she faces," Jo said.
"With more and more tiny rules, it just seems like our schools aren't helping our kids. They're supposed to be teaching them about the adult world and they're going the wrong way about it.
"You have to pay money in school fees and you have to send your kid somewhere six hours a day … I just ask they be practical about it."
Jemma is in Year 10 at Southern Cross Catholic College Annandale and Jo said she receives emails almost weekly about new rules being added to the school's policy.
"The latest crackdown is because kids haven't been locking their school lockers - last term they weren't able to wear hair bands on their wrists," Jo said.
"It just seems to me they're handing out rules willy nilly … I have five kids, I'm all for rules and not misbehaving in class. If kids are blatantly breaking the rules like their hair is pink or they're wearing the wrong sports uniform, I get it but it's becoming too much."
The upset mother claimed her daughter recently overheard some students making derogatory remarks towards some girls and nearby staff didn't act.
"But if you're wearing socks that don't cover your ankle bones you're in detention," Jo said.
"I'm waiting for the day Jemma asks to change schools because it's too much."
An email sent from the school last week and obtained by the Bulletin informs parents that "some areas of the uniform … are slipping in our homeroom".
Issues include students wearing sports hats with their academic uniform, incorrect and additional earrings and wearing their sports uniform more days than they're allowed.
"Sock length (too short) - socks are to be above the ball of the ankle, not below. Too many students are wearing socks that cannot be seen," the email read.
"Hair ties (random colours) - students are being seen with hair ties that are not school colours (white, yellow, black, maroon or grey)."
The teacher said a note must be written in the diary by a parent if there were special circumstances for not following the uniform policy and she would "be implementing immediate consequences for students who are consistently and knowingly choosing to ignore these rules clearly set out by the school".
Jemma said a lot of students, like her, thought SCCC had unnecessary rules.
"Hairbands are not allowed on wrists yet this is something many girls need," she said.
"I think having to get your parents to sign diaries is unrealistic past grade 9, at that stage the students should be able to take their own initiative."
She reiterated she thought it was "a quite good school" but the punishments for breaking little rules should be reconsidered.
"I have expressed my concerns many times and have been heard but I understand these things take time," Jemma said.
SCCC principal Greg Cameron told the Bulletin that policies and procedures were published on the school website for parents to access and "also communicated at various juncture points during the school year to our community".
"We don't believe we are burdening parents with updated rules and regulation, as alleged, and will seek further feedback from our board and P&F bodies to check if this is indeed an issue with other parents," Mr Cameron said.
"The care of our students is paramount, so we are certainly concerned to hear of the worry that these children may be experiencing. The school has robust pastoral care programs to ensure the wellbeing of all our students."
Mr Cameron said in regards to the recent locker blitz, the exercise was "carried out on an ad hoc basis".
"Our aim is to ensure students are encouraged to take responsibility for their belongings and that their belongings are stored securely. Most parents will attest to the frustration, disappointment and cost of replacing belongings that have been misplaced or removed from unlocked lockers," he said.
"We welcome parent feedback at all times, and parents can call or email the school for a quick response to their issues or initiate our formal complaints process if they deem the matter needs to be escalated."
Jo said after speaking to Jemma's teacher again, she will no longer have to do detention for the locker incident.