Insensitive case hard knock for school student
THE case of Pimlico High School student Taylah Lagerwey is a sad indictment on the school’s lack of empathy and inability to show discretion for a young girl with a disability. Taylah has had ongoing surgical procedures since she was eight, suffering from a rare disease which has caused tumours on her ear lobes. Her Mum says she has been told to remove earrings, which she uses to cover the scars, if she wants to remain at school, a claim Education Queensland denies. Education Queensland says the school had not told Taylah or her mother that she must leave because of piercing or any other breach of the school’s uniform policy. It says students and parents at Pimlico were made aware of the school’s uniform policy at the time of enrolment and for health and safety reasons, schools limit the wearing of jewellery, including piercings to the wearing of a watch and sleepers or studs. Mother Kristy Williams said her daughter has a number of small earrings to not only divert attention away from the scars but also to hide the new size of her ear canal. Nobody has any difficulty with a school uniform policy that extends to body piercing. Policies and school regulations are part of life. But this is about common sense and empathy. This is a student with a disability, a young girl who would be an easy target for ridicule among her peers. Taylah and her Mum are simply trying to mitigate against schoolyard cruelty. Why wouldn’t a school relax a rigid uniform policy if it meant making life easier for this young girl? School uniform policies are not enacted in law. The principal does have a legitimate excuse to relax the policy in exceptional circumstances, and this is clearly one of those situations. There is also the issue of hypocrisy. Mrs Williams claims teachers at the school have far more piercings than her daughter but when she raised the issue with the school it refused to comment. This is a crazy situation. Education Queensland needs to intervene and show some compassion.