Students: various

What should the school do if a parent refuses to allow a child to wear a school uniform?

Schools are entitled to set rules including the wearing of a uniform and usually parents enrolling know this.

Normally infringement of uniform policy by a student is easily dealt with, but parental opposition is more problematic, particularly when the uniform policy is new or a substantive change in policy has taken place.

Issues around parental opposition to a school uniform

  • A first step is to meet with the parents and try and resolve matters by understanding what is behind the stance. While respecting the position outlined, be firm that the school policy is not negotiable unless there are extraordinary reasons such as health requirements or strong religious beliefs/customs.
  • It is important to understand who is behind the stance being taken, whether it is the student, the parents, or both parties.
  • If the issue rests with the parents and not the student, then dealing with the issue as a student disciplinary matter may be the wrong approach to take and may be traumatic for the student.
  • If the underlying problem is financial, the board may assist by establishing a hardship fund.
  • A good further step is to write to the parents setting out the reasoning behind the rule, and the discussions you have had with them.
  • If the parents persist in opposition, and perhaps cite legislation or United Nations Conventions regarding you should consult the NZSTA help desk.

Updated: October 2011

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