Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Lunch, uniform woes irritate Merl Grove parents

Published:Saturday | October 24, 2015 | 10:00 AM

J.B.

Angry, frustrated Merl Grove

High School Parent

I wish to bring to your attention and expose the depth of madness currently taking place at Merl Grove High School. It seems the administration is insensitive and uncaring about addressing the plight of the girls at the institution.

On occasions, students go without lunch as the canteen sometimes supplies an inadequate number of lunches each day. Also, many times the lunch period ends, leaving many students without lunch because of unduly long lines. My daughter is now in Grade 11 and this has been going on for more than three years. It seems the school expects our children to learn on empty stomachs, as despite desperate pleas from parents to address the matter, the school remains indifferent.

Every PTA meeting, the matter is raised, and at our last PTA meeting, there was literally an uproar from parents who are now fed up with the situation. We have been begging for a two-shift lunch system for some time now, but our requests fall on deaf ears.

I am writing this letter as many parents are now frustrated and feel that we have no other recourse but to bring the matter to public attention. The last straw came on Wednesday, October 14, when, instead of addressing this most urgent matter, the school chose to major in the minor. This was the day before the midterm break and each student was given a letter saying that some uniforms were incorrect.

 

Contradictory information

 

The letter went on to state that the width and placement of uniform pockets were incorrect and that the uniform length should be four inches below the knee, even though the Merl Grove School Handbook states that the it should be three inches below the knee. Other instructions in the letter relate to where the zipper should end and the colour thread that should be used to stitch the front seam. The note then said that parents should use the midterm break to make adjustments to the uniforms or their daughters would be sent home when school reopens on Tuesday, October 20.

Please note, Mr Editor, that for years many of us buy uniforms from a supplier who has been sanctioned by the school - Laura Lou Enterprise on Cassia Park Road. It is not fair for parents who have just spent thousands of dollars on back-to-school expenses to be told just weeks after the reopening of school that we should spend additional funds on uniforms. I was told by one parent that she went to the said supplier to purchase the 'correct' uniform, but they had none in stock.

On October 20, morning classes were suspended to carry out uniform inspection. A significant number of the students were then given letters to have their uniforms adjusted. The very curt and off-handed letter stated: "Please have your daughter's uniform made according to the given specifications. When she is ready for school, we will be willing to have her back for classes." My daughter was one of those given this letter and her uniform measures four inches below the knee. According to her, no actual measurement was done as a prefect estimated the length by mere observation.

My questions for the school are as follows: If the official supplier does not have the correct uniforms, what are these girls to do? What about parents who have spent their last at the beginning of the term and are now called upon to spend more money on adjustment? Is it fair to give parents such short notice to make the adjustments? Why was the uniform length changed in midterm from three inches to four inches below the knee? When will they address the appalling lunch situation?

As parents, we are asking the minister of education to intervene and address this ludicrous matter. We also want Minister Thwaites to address the lunch situation, which the school has chosen to ignore and to focus instead on burning issues such as the size and placement of uniform pockets.