Education Minister backs Brisbane school sending 100 students to detention over shoes

Education Minister backs Brisbane school sending 100 students to detention over shoes

Education Minister backs Brisbane school sending 100 students to detention over shoes

Updated 6 February 2018, 12:00 AEDT

Education Minister Grace Grace backs a Brisbane high school's crackdown on uniform policy that resulted in about 100 students getting detention for not wearing the proper shoes.

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace is backing a Brisbane school that is handing out detentions to students who do not have the correct heel on their school shoes.

The Gap State High School (TGSHS) in Brisbane's west yesterday issued detention to about 100 students for not wearing the correct school uniform.

Last week, parents from TGSHS took to social media to vent their anger about uniform requirements which would see their children sent to detention for having the wrong-sized heel on their school shoes.

This week the school took action, with parents and students claiming hundreds of students were given detention for wearing banned shoes or a non-compliant uniform.

One parent told the ABC that senior students sitting practice Queensland Core Skills exams were also called out of the classroom to get lunch time detention passes for uniform infringements.

"I just got a text from my daughter, there are 460 kids in a line from the office all the way down to the front gate," one mother said.

Kevin Bates from the Queensland Teachers Union said the principal had informed him 103 students were sent to detention.

Ms Grace said it was more like 80 to 100 students.

"The figures that have been circulated around about the number of students disciplined for not complying with the uniform policy have been greatly exaggerated," she said.

Ms Grace said she fully supported the school's effort to enforce the uniform policy, that parents had been given time to comply and the school had offered help to families in financial difficulty.

The school has directed students to wear black leather lace up school shoes, which have a heel, no greater than 20 millimetres and no lower than 5 millimetres.

It has even issued pictures of what shoes comply, along with an endorsement for a retailer selling the footwear.

Jenny Manley's son was one of the students given detention yesterday at The Gap State High School.

She said she was beyond furious with the school and that they should just focus on educating children.

"I'm really disappointed because it is a really good school," she said.

"I've never had an issue with the school ever. I just think it's been handled really appallingly."

The move to crackdown on students also prompted angry responses from parents on social media.

"Seriously, there are kids committing suicide because of bullying around the country and this school is worried about shoes? #priorities," posted one parent.

Another expressed frustration: "For crying out loud, is this the biggest issue for the local high school to be addressing? I totally respect the guidelines and parents should have purchased within those guidelines, but heel height? Choose a battle worth fighting TGSHS".

One student said: "Today I was one of the students up at the office for having leather Nike shoes on, the girl next to me had the correct black leather lace up shoes however, was sent up to the office as her heel was just over the 3cm mark."

Others supported the school's stand.

"Children of The Gap, lace up your shoes, go to school, enjoy it, make the most of it, learn things that may enable you to make the world a better place," one person wrote.

A Department of Education spokesman said only a "relatively small" number of TGSHS students had not complied with the uniform policy since the return of school this year.

"Those students were provided with warnings and their families were also contacted and the school requested they rectify the issue," the spokesman said.

"The school leadership team may take appropriate disciplinary action against students who have repeated deliberate uniform infringements.

"TGSHS is thrilled with the majority support of the school community regarding uniform standards and is focusing on the vast improvements in student pride and appearance that is evident this year. School staff will continue to work with families to assist students to meet common expectations around the uniform.

"Student dress codes reflect school community standards and balance the rights of individual students with the best interests of the whole school community."

Parents have been advised to attend the next GSHS P&C meeting on the February 12 to voice their concerns about the school uniform policy.