School backflips after shaving debacle
SEVEN months after a teacher told a 12-year-old student he had to shave his face for a photo, the Queensland school has been ordered to change its grooming rules.
The Mansfield State High School student, who remained anonymous, was sporting a faint moustache on his photo day in February when a teacher told him to go into the bathroom and "swipe down".
But the Brisbane student had never shaved before and was instead left with cuts all over his upper lip.
The school came under fire from the boy's father, who previously told Fairfax his "traumatised" son had called him immediately after the shaving debacle with a face and shirt covered in blood.
After speaking with the school's principal Karen Tanks, the father said he was left unsatisfied with Mansfield's response and took his complaint to the Education Board's Ethical Standards Unit.
And more than six months after the shaving incident, the boy's father has won his appeal to get the school's grooming policy changed.
In a letter dated July 19, the education department's deputy regional director of the Metropolitan region told the family that students shaving at school was now forbidden.
"In 2019, Mansfield State High School will ensure that no student will be permitted to shave at school unless explicit parent consent is obtained. Explicit consent in this instance will require direct parent contact with the school administration by phone, email or in writing," the letter read, according to Fairfax.
The school's dress and grooming requirements state: "Boys must be cleanly shaven at all times. Sideburns are to be no longer than in line with no more than halfway down the ear."
The February shaving incident left the boy with three cuts across his face, which then became infected.
"He said he was made to shave and he had blood over his face," the boy's father said. "I said that is not possible; I was shocked because I didn't expect that from the school or anyone, to be honest.
"We have taught him that when a teacher asks him to do something, just to do it and he has done it - and that has fallen back on us."
The school declined to comment at the time but a staff member told news.com.au the father's account of his son's ordeal "wasn't 100 per cent true".
The father said despite receiving a response from the school principal, Mansfield's teachers had still not met a "standard of care".
"If he was required to shave, if you presume for a minute that the silly policy allows it, then not caring, not providing first aid, not supervising the child for the first time with holding a razor and letting them take a razor to the toilet themselves and letting them shave by themselves without any shaving lotion or cream - in my view, they have not met the clear standard of care that a teacher needs to show," he said.
Queensland's Department of Education Ethical Standards Unit has been contacted for comment.