School bans kids from pirate show
PREP students at a Gold Coast school have been banned from attending a pirate show on Friday because their parents have not paid the voluntary resource fee.
Instead, the five and six-year-olds will be taken to another class while their mates get to enjoy the show.
Ashmore State School wrote to parents in February to announce its new Enrichment Experiences Policy.
It detailed that students would be excluded from activities if they had not paid the $110 student resources scheme, had 10 or more absences, or did not meet 93 per cent attendance.
One mother told the Bulletin yesterday that a number of parents had expressed anger towards the school, both in person and through a private Facebook group.
They were even considering taking their children out of school for the day in protest.
"Many parents didn't even see the email and weren't aware that getting their child to school five or 10 minutes late would have such a huge impact, and have now found the school less than helpful regarding the matter," the mother said.
"When parents expressed their concern and outrage about this absolute absurdity, they were told that their children were still welcome to dress up for pirate day, but would still be separated from their classrooms when the pirate show is on."
The Department of Education said the principal was unavailable for comment yesterday afternoon.
"One parent has kept her child home from school this week due to the fact that the prep classes have been building up to Friday's pirate show through pirate-themed craft and learning exercises all week," a mother said.
"The school is wanting to improve their attendance stats, but all this is doing is making parents keep their children home for days at a time so they're not left out and humiliated. How does that work?
"All they're doing is segregating kids and families," she said. "We're a public school. All kids are supposed to be given a fair go."
A spokesperson for the Department of Education said enrichment experiences are separate to excursions and incursions.
"The implementation of, and decisions regarding enrichment experiences are made at a local level by principals and school leadership teams in close consultation with the P and C," the spokesperson said. "Principals will always work with families to ensure their children are not disadvantaged.
"Children who will not be taking part in the enrichment experience will be provided alternative activities. Parents who have questions or concerns about student requirements at their school are encouraged to speak with their child's school principal."
Examples of families banned from attending the pirate show include:
* The mother of a child with intellectual impairment who cannot always get to school on time.
* A mother who did not pay the student resource scheme in full, though offered partial payment.
* Another mother on payment plans for multiple children.
One mother has been told her son will be excluded from an upcoming excursion, even though she has already paid for the trip.
"He's had two sick days this week and I have to take him to a doctor's appointment," said the mother, who also did not want to be named as she was concerned it would cause further issues for her son.
"He has health issues so I can't help it when I have to keep him home from school."