Victoria University Secondary College was founded in 2010 by the amalgamation of two local secondary schools. A new uniform was created with a three year changeover period. In 2013 a number of students were sent home for wearing the uniforms from their former schools.
A senior student has hit back at readers who say a school was right to send students home for wearing the wrong uniform on the first day of school.
Up to 60 year 11 and 12 Victoria University Secondary College students were sent home on Wednesday for failing to wear the new school uniform.
Clair Anderson wrote to Leader Newspapers to defend herself after readers blamed the students for the row.
“As a year 12 student that attends the school, you would think they would let it slide,” she wrote.
“It is my last year and I do take my education very seriously. For them to send me home after being at school for an hour is affecting my education.”
She said her family would struggle to pay for a new uniform for just one year’s use.
“My mother is a single parent who has just had breast cancer and cannot work due to this,” she wrote.
“How is she is supposed to financially cover this?”
Principal Genevieve Simson said parents and students were given ample warning that old school uniforms would be phased out, and the new one required from the start of this year.
Many readers defended the school’s decision.
Tanya Fernando of Balwyn said students had ample warning and could not get away with ignoring the rules.
“My daughter’s school is the same. If she gets a detention for not wearing her blazer, her fault!”
School ‘breached duty of care’
But some readers say the school breached its duty of care to the students and that uniform violations were not a good reason to throw teenagers out.
Mary of Clayton said the school should have to pay for new uniforms for senior students, who would only have one or two years out of it.
“As long as the students are wearing ‘a uniform’ (even from their old schools) it should not matter,” she wrote on Leadernews.com.au.
“I thought school was to learn not to worry about school uniforms.”
Sara of Hawthorn said an out-of-date uniform should be acceptable for the duration of a student’s education.
“To expect parents to fork out money for another new uniform is greedy, ridiculous and old fashioned,” she wrote.
“Schools are supposed to teach, not be the fashion police.”
‘Don’t bother coming back’
Delahey mother Joanne Grey’s two daughters, Amy in year 11 and Erin in year 12, were both sent home.
Amy was not wearing a blazer, while Erin was wearing the old school jumper and canvas shoes, not leather shoes.
“Amy was told to get the right uniform or don’t bother coming back,” she said.
“It’s a bit heavy handed, year 12 should be about getting an education.”
After three schools merged in 2010 to form the college, the new school council set up a uniform committee to choose a new uniform.
“There has been a two-year change-over period, now everybody has to be in full school uniform,” Mrs Simson said.
“Parents were sent home letters, and it was in the school newsletter.”
She would not confirm how many students were sent home, but parents put the number at between 50 and 60.
Another mother, Koula Theoharou from Kealba, said she arrived home to find her 16-year-old daughter on the couch.
“The school didn’t even ring or call, I should have at least got a phone call,” she said.
“She wore the exact same uniform on her last day last year without any complaints.
“The school said they sent out letters but I haven’t seen one.
“I think it’s ridiculous, they are jeopardising her education.”
But Mrs Simson stood by the new policy.
“It’s a school rule, and they’ve had two years warning,” she said.
Victoria University Secondary College students conform to new uniform policy
CLASSES are returning to normal at a St Albans secondary school after students were sent home for being in the wrong uniform on the first day of school.
On Thursday, just four students arrived at Victoria University Secondary College in the wrong uniform.
A week earlier, about 60 Year 11 and 12 students were sent home for breaching the school uniform policy, sparking outrage among parents and students.
After three schools merged in 2010 to form the college, the new school council set up a committee to choose a new uniform.
Principal Genevieve Simson said parents and students were given ample warning old school uniforms would be phased out, and the new one would be required from the start of this year.
Last week, the school stopped sending students home, but instead barred them from classes and sent them to the gym to complete class work.
Education department spokeswoman Anna Malbon said no students had been isolated from their peers.
“The principal has informed the department that the school is committed to assisting students and their families to acquire the school’s uniform,” she said.
“While this process is under way, the four students are receiving their normal lessons together in a class and are with other students at lunch and recess as normal.”
The saga has left some parents questioning how it even happened.
One mother, who wished to stay anonymous, said she had spent close to $300 buying the new uniform for her son in Year 10.
“The majority of the parents feel there is no need to purchase the blazer because other items have been purchased with the school emblem on it,” she said.
“We are in a low socio-economic area and we, and more so our children, are being bullied by the school to purchase this ridiculous item when we have jumpers and other jackets.
“Everyone is at a loss as to how this could happen,” she said.