Mornington: A lesson for wearing wrong socks

A year 11 student has been barred from sitting an English exam for wearing the wrong socks.

Sophie Newton’s daughter was turned away from her exam at Mornington Secondary College, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, on Tuesday because she was not wearing school-regulation socks.

“They were the right-coloured socks, with the exception of a brand name on the top,” Ms Newton said.

“[My daughter] has never received a warning for wearing these socks in the past.

“I would have thought that a warning in this case would have been sufficient under the circumstances. Year 11 students are already under enough pressure. I believe there is a time and place to pick battles and I feel that [Tuesday] was most certainly not one of them.”

Ms Newton said she understood other students had also been barred from sitting exams for other minor uniform issues, for which they had been given no prior warning.

In a letter to the school, Ms Newton said the decision had placed unnecessary stress on her daughter, who would have to sit the exam at a later date.

“[She] came home very distressed and teary; she is concerned that as she now has to reschedule her exam,” Ms Newton said.

“I honestly feel that sending a good student home for such an insignificant and minor incident is both demoralising and inappropriate. I would have understood if she was caught cheating.”

Ms Newton told Fairfax Media she had since received a call from the school’s assistant principal apologising for the situation. However, she has requested that the assistant principal apologise directly to the students involved and also reconsider the school’s uniform policy.

Mornington Secondary College principal Sarah Burns said Ms Newton’s daughter was among a number of students who were not wearing the correct uniform, but conceded Tuesday’s exam may not have been the best time to enforce the school’s dress code.

“The timing of the staff member was not ideal,” she said.

“It’s unfortunate that a good student has been caught up with the others, but she was not in uniform. We have high expectations of acadmeic achievement, behaviour and uniform.”

Ms Burns said the students, including Ms Newston’s daughter, would be able to sit the exam at a later date.

This story first appeared in The Age