Some parents have lashed out at a Victorian secondary school for introducing a puffer jacket featuring the rainbow pride and Indigenous flags on each sleeve.
Cheltenham Secondary College in in Melbourne’s south-east strictly enforces its uniform policy.
But the puffer jackets are optional and an “alternative” to the school’s softshell jacket. The school started selling the jackets for $89.95 in May.
The puffer jacket featured the school emblem on the front with the words “respect”, “responsibility”, “personal best” and “community”.
Each sleeve also has an Indigenous flag and a rainbow pride flag.
But on Monday, Cheltenham parents rang in to radio station 3AW furious about the “political” flags.
One of the callers, Penny, whose son attends Cheltenham, told 3AW host Neil Mitchell she was “disgusted”.
“I think the fact that they have those flags on a school uniform is disgusting. It’s not right,” she said.
“It’s a school, it’s not a political statement.
“Why do specific people get things on the uniform?”
She complained the school wouldn’t allow them to remove or black out the flags with a pen.
“They won’t let you wear it if you have blacked out the flags,” Penny said.
Neil Mitchell says school puffer jacket ‘an attack’
Cheltenham Secondary College unveiled the optional addition to the uniform on May 19.
“The Puffer Jacket is offered as an additional/alternate item. [It] is not a replacement for the Softshell jacket, which is still part of the college uniform,” the school said.
3AW host Neil Mitchell sided with the parents and described the jacket’s introduction as “an attack of woke”.
The radio host said he’s “all in favour of celebrating diversity and recognising the Indigenous heritage” but declared it a “step too far” to “involve the kids in that.”
But a Department of Education spokesperson said the jacket was “initiated by the student community”.
“School uniform policies for our schools are determined by school councils,” they said.
“The jacket was initiated by the student community and is not a compulsory part of the school uniform.
“Like all our state schools, Cheltenham Secondary College is proud to be a safe and welcoming school.”
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