Last month, the principal of Emmanuel College in Altona North, which is located in the western suburbs of Melbourne, sent a letter home to parents and pupils stating that “excessive hairstyles,” such as mullets and deadlocks, were not permitted at the institution. The communication to parents was initially brought to the public’s attention by the Herald Sun.
The principle, Janine Biggin, stated that it was a matter of “equity and fairness” to hold pupils accountable for complying to the policies about personal grooming and uniforms.
After that, students wrote an open letter to the community and personnel of the school, in which they voiced their opposition to the tighter standards.
In the letter, it is asked, “Why is it much more important that students’ uniforms and appearances are much more important than their education and wellbeing?”
“Rather, it is possible that they do not perceive those expectations as being significant due to the lack of impact it has on both their education and their behavior in school,” they stated.
Biggin disclosed to Australia that the policy of school uniforms was formulated after consultation with families via the school advisory council.
“We maintain clear expectations for student appearance and grooming as a matter of equity, comfort, and safety along with pride in the college,” she added. “We do this because we take pride in the college.”
“As always, ongoing listening to the voice and views of our young people is also a very important consideration.”
The students, in reference to the mullet prohibition, stated that it was a “popular Australian hairstyle” and that it was unclear as to why it was outlawed.
According to what was written in the student’s open letter, “many students already have mullet hairstyles despite the expectations, and they are often not extreme.”
According to the letter, persons of color frequently wear mullets and dreadlocks, and the fact that the college considers them unsuitable “raises questions and concerns of racial bias within the college.”
In the first email that Biggin sent to the parents of his kids, he stated that although the students were allowed to wear single, plain stud earrings, they were not authorized to wear sleeper-style earrings or have any other piercings other than their ears.
Clear studs are not allowed to be worn. According to what was written in the email, it is inappropriate to wear any additional fashion items.
However, the letter written by the student maintained that earrings were a matter of personal preference and had no bearing on a student’s academic performance.
“When students make the choice not to observe these standards, they are choosing to disregard college expectations,” Biggin wrote. “The staff will be obliged to issue consequences in order to assist the students in becoming responsible for their choices.”