Invite-only prom sparks outrage
A SCHOOL prom for students has been, for many years, the biggest social event in all of their secondary school life.
But due to an "invitation only" policy, based on good grades and adequate attendance levels at Bundaberg High School, some of its Year 12 students may not make the gala door list.
Concerned parents contacted the NewsMail, outraged their child had been told they may not get an invitation to their prom, which is issued by principal Raelene Fysh.
One mother, who did not wish to be named, said her son had been told at the start of the year that due to low attendance, he may not get an invitation.
"My son's attendance is not in the high 90s," she said.
"The only time he had off school was because he was sick, and I let the school know every time."
The upset mother said she was "devastated" her son may be excluded from the end-of-year celebrations.
"I know there would be a lot of other mothers out there feeling the same way," she said.
Education Queensland North Coast regional director Greg Peach said because the Bundaberg State High School prom was an extracurricular activity, students must meet certain conditions to be able to attend.
"These include the student's effort at school, the student's behaviour and the student's attendance record," he said.
"The school has recently notified some students who may not at this stage meet these set conditions."
Mr Peach said students now had the opportunity to work with the school over the coming months to be able to meet the prom's conditions of invite.
Bundaberg State High School principal Raelene Fysh said the invitation conditions were not a new policy, and invites to this year's prom had not been issued.
"I have an expectation of students to have high rates of attendance," she said.
"As research shows, improved attendance gives us improved results."
The NewsMail contacted high schools in the city regarding the same policy but Kepnock High School, Bundaberg North High School and St Luke's Anglican School did not respond.
Shalom College principal Dan McMahon said his school had not adopted the same invitation conditions.
"I could understand a school making some conditions around entry to an event like that, depending on adverse student behaviour," he said.
Bundaberg Christian College acting head of secondary Arthur Ross said the Year 12 prom did not carry specific criteria that had to be fulfilled by attending students.
However, Mr Ross said attendance was "considered a privilege" for graduating students and, if deemed necessary, the invitation may be withdrawn and the student not allowed to attend.