Students from Mackellar Girls Campus on the northern beaches in Australia were banned from graduating and placed in a separate room for fake nails- yes, you read that right- fake acrylic nails.
The offending tips were not even outrageous colors or lengths. They were short, natural-colored nails.
One mother of a banned student spoke to news.com.au and said that a lot of parents had to take time off to attend the 9:15 a.m. assembly on Monday.
“No one had any idea where they were and the assembly started an hour later because they were disciplining the girls because of the nails,” said the mother.
“A lot of the parents had to actually leave the ceremony because they had to get back to work,” she continued.
A large number of the girls had their nails done for their formal just four days before the graduation ceremony.
A majority of the girls were attending another formal the day after their graduation, so it didn’t make sense for them to get their fake nails removed explained the distraught mother.
Most of the girls were not allowed back into the assembly and the very few who were allowed were forced to sit in the back of the auditorium and their names were not read among the list of graduates.
“They pretended these girls didn’t exist. At least acknowledge them,” said the mother.
She believes that the decision was not fair and said, “The nails weren’t that offensive.”
She also questioned why some of the teachers were held to different rules and standards such as wearing bright red nails, yet the short, naturally-colored acrylics of the students were criticized.
“I think that’s a slight double standard. This has been four years of their life, throughout Covid and lockdown. I understand that rules are rules but to treat them like this is not OK. It’s bullying and a form of intimidation and ostracising these girls and you can’t do that in this day and age,” she continued.
Another student’s mother explained that her daughter was banned from graduation despite her having trimmed her nails.
She said, “every child deserves the right to graduate, irrespective of, or if they have nail polish on or not. The management at the school are so out of touch and this behavior has been going on for years.”
“It was like they never existed after four years of attending the school. There were so many parents who had taken time off work to attend, to sit there in the audience and not only not see their daughters get their awards, but their names were not even recognized. Absolutely disgusting behavior for a publicly funded and run local government school,” she continued.
The President of the Northern Sydney District Council of P&C Associations, David Hope, says the actions of the school were “completely unjustified”.
“The District Council will be in contact with the school P&C and will be taking this matter up with the Department of Education and the Education Minister,” he told news.com.au.
However, a spokesperson from the NBSC Mackellar Girls Campus said, “We understand some students and parents are upset by the decision of the school, however, all Mackellar Girls students and parents were given written and verbal advice on the expectations around uniform and behavior on multiple occasions since the start of the school year.”
“This included specific advice to students and parents that acrylic nails were not acceptable at school and in particular for the Year 10 assembly,” they continued.