Furious parents have lashed out at a Sydney high school after up to 70 students were banned from attending their Year 10 graduation because they wore fake nails.
Female students at the Mackellar Girls Campus on the northern beaches were instead placed in a separate room and barred from entering the main hall where the graduation took place.
Speaking to news.com.au, the mother of banned student Sarah* said many parents took time off to attend the 9.15am assembly on Monday.
“Nobody knew where they were and the assembly started an hour later because they were disciplining the girls because of the nails,” Sarah said.
“A lot of parents had to leave the ceremony because they had to go back to work.”
Many of the students also had their nails done for their Grade 10 ceremony on Thursday, just four days before the graduation ceremony.
Sarah said the majority of the girls also attend another ceremony the day after graduation, so it didn’t make sense for them to have their fake nails removed.
“At Least Recognize Them”
Eventually, some students, including Sarah’s daughter, Chrissy*, were allowed back into the room, but were told to sit at the back of the congregation and their names were not read. Sarah said as a parent it was the “hardest thing” for her.
“They pretended that these girls didn’t exist. At least acknowledge them,” Sarah said.
In the end, she thinks the decision wasn’t right.
“The nails weren’t that offensive,” she said.
She also questioned why some teachers were allowed to wear bright red fingernails, but the students’ short, naturally colored acrylics were criticized.
“I think it’s a slight double standard,” she added.
“It has been four years of their life, all through Covid and lockdown. I understand that rules are rules but treating them like that is not OK.
“It’s bullying and a form of bullying and ostracizing these girls and you can’t do that these days.”
Student forced to cut her nails
Another Grade 10 student was still banned from attending the ceremony despite having her acrylic nails trimmed and getting the all-clear from two teachers.
Her mother Lily* told news.com.au that “every child deserves the right to graduate whether they wear nail polish or not.”
“The school administration is so out of touch and this behavior has been going on for years,” she added.
“It was like they never existed after four years of being in school,” she added.
“There were so many parents who had taken time off to attend, to sit in the audience and not only didn’t see their daughters receive their awards, but their names weren’t even recognized. Absolutely disgusting behavior for a local public school funded and run by the state.
The story, which first appeared on the Manly Observer social media page and on Instagram, caught the attention of furious parents.
Inaccurate figures: the ministry responds
North Sydney P&C Associations District Council chairman David Hope said the school’s actions were “completely unwarranted”.
“The District Council will be in contact with the school’s P&C and will raise this issue with the Department of Education and the Minister for Education,” he told news.com.au.
“As far as we are concerned, the school and the Department do not have the authority to exclude these students because they had long fingernails.”
The NSW Department of Education and a spokesperson for NBSC Mackellar Girls Campus claimed the figures reported were ‘inaccurate’. It is understood that the figures indicate that there were 57 absences from the meeting.
A ministry spokesperson backed the school’s decision to ban the students.
“We understand that some students and parents are upset with the school’s decision, but all Mackellar Girls students and parents have received written and verbal guidance on uniform and behavior expectations on multiple occasions since inception. of the school year,” they said. .
“This included specific advice to students and parents that acrylic nails were not acceptable in school and especially for Year 10 assembly.”
The spokesperson claimed that only 20 of the school’s 239 grade 10 students did not receive their portfolios on stage due to their acrylic nails, but they were in the hall for the assembly.
However, Chrissy thinks the figure of 70 students is correct. She says there were about 50 girls kept in her class, plus another patch of girls who weren’t allowed into the assembly.
“Teachers were even saying they didn’t agree with what they were doing but there was nothing they could do about it,” she added.
Although her daughter won’t be returning to NBSC’s Mackellar Campus for Girls in 2023, Sarah says she’s speaking out because she doesn’t want future female students to be treated the same.
“To me, the way these girls have been treated is not acceptable. We are living in 2022,” she said.
“I just don’t want this to happen to girls in the future.”
New York Post