Last-minute school uniform dash frays tempers

Parents make their way to the trailers to purchase uniforms at Clifton Hunter High School. - Photos: Jewel Levy
Student Nadia Clifford with mum Alyssa, right, collect uniforms from shop volunteer Marion Medford.

A last-minute rush to get uniforms for some 800 students, who return to government schools on Monday, saw tempers flare as parents queued up at Clifton Hunter High School on Wednesday.

Some frustrated parents took to social media posts to complain about the volunteer-operated uniform shop.

However, Parent Teacher Association president Kaffion Montague said each year many parents wait until the last minute to get uniforms, rather than arranging to pick them up during the summer break. The uniform shop is run by the PTA.

“The shop opens every Saturday from 12‑4pm, but some parents choose to turn up just before school reopens,” Montague said. “Some of the parents are really disrespectful and rude to us and the security officers. It’s a volunteer service and we’re not getting … help and support from parents and teachers.”

She said the PTA requests volunteers to assist in the two weeks leading up to the new school year, because that is when the rush starts.

At the end of the school year, she said, parents are encouraged to get their uniforms early to avoid disappointment.

Children could be seen Wednesday trying on uniforms with their parents in two trailers located at the rear of the school, assisted by two shop volunteers.

“Up to the night before, my assistant Simone

Scott and I were here until 9pm. It’s ridiculous – parents need to help. They can’t expect two parents to serve 800 students,” said Montague.

There were delays from the manufacturer, as well as a short delay involving a crane  to pick up the container the uniforms arrived in, she said. But, she said, the uniforms did arrive on time, before school resumed.

A set of uniforms, including PE uniforms, socks and belts, can cost up to $106.

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