Parents have slammed a secondary school for introducing a puffer jacket featuring the pride and Australian Aboriginal flags.
Cheltenham Secondary College in Melbourne’s southeast first offered the jackets for sale for $89.95 in May. The jackets are non-compulsory and offered as an “alternate item” of the softshell jacket.
The jacket includes the school emblem and the words “respect”, “responsibility”, “personal best” and “community”. One sleeve has the Australian Aboriginal Flag and the other the Rainbow Flag.
The flags, which were “initiated” by the school’s students, have sparked outrage from parents who have attempted to remove them, which the school reportedly said was in breach of its uniform policy.
A Department of Education spokesperson said the student community had suggested the jacket design.
“The jacket was initiated by the student community and is not a compulsory part of the school uniform,” they said.
“School uniform policies for our schools are determined by school councils.
“Like all our state schools, Cheltenham Secondary College is proud to be a safe and welcoming school.”
Penny, whose son attends Cheltenham Secondary College, spoke with 3AW host Neil Mitchell on Monday and revealed the school would not allow students to remove or black out the flags with a marker.
“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?”
Another caller, named John, said he had heard from a source that parents trying to remove the flags were told they were defacing the garment.
“They should stick to educating our kids,” he said.
Another told Mitchell that non-Christian students who removed the flags from the jacket were “left alone”.
Mitchell called the move “an attack of woke”.
“I’m all in favour of celebrating diversity and recognising the Indigenous heritage – it’s not about that, but it’s a step too far to involve the kids in that, and if they are being punished for not wearing it, that’s just absurd.”
He also pointed out the Australian flag was missing, which he thought was odd.
Cheltenham SC took to Facebook to unveil its new optional addition to its uniform on May 19.
“The puffer jacket is offered as an additional/alternate item and is not a replacement for the softshell jacket, which is still part of the college uniform,” it said in a post.
Two parents commented, one saying it looked “fantastic”.
“I love it! The flags on the sides are wonderful too!” said the other.
The school been contacted for comment.