Give Us a Break!
I attended Gympie State High School. It was compulsory to wear the school uniform. There were probably a few grumbles about the non-flattering uniform but that didn't matter. At least it saved on our parents' pockets in having to buy clothes for us to wear to school. Wearing of the uniforms also, no doubt, eased peer pressure in that we didn't feel we had to 'keep up with the Jones'. I don't even know if we had a problem with 'peer pressure' when I was in high school or when I commencing working. If it was around, it didn't alter my behaviour in any way and still doesn't!
What has prompted this post is an article I read in today's 'Sunday Mail' about "State school uniform standards are now enforceable by law, making it possible for schools to compel students to conform to a code, and to punish those who don't conform with sanctions." Apparently dress codes in state schools were under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education manual. Now, under the new legislation, schools that don't have an official uniform can still maintain its "no uniform" policy but its dress standards would be enforceable. In schools where there is a uniform policy, students will be expected to conform.
I don't think it hurts the kids to wear uniforms! And I believe we allow kids too much say in matters these days...they are still 'kids' after all!
I've not worn a uniform since, of course...I hate them! Even when I was cheffing, I created my own "uniform" as I didn't want to conform. At high school uniforms were the rule, so I conformed! I doubt it did my any harm.
Schoolies: I think this is a load of hogwash, too! I'd already been working a couple of years earning my own living at the age of these kids are who go crazy at the coast this time each year! 'Schoolies' Week' may bring a lot of money to the coastal communities, but it also brings added pressures and problems.
When I was a teenager working in a legal office in Gympie, every weekend during the spring/summer months, about three, sometimes four girlfriends and I went to the coast, either Mooloolaba or Noosa. Noosa became our beach of choice after a year of frequenting Mooloolaba. It was also closer to Gympie. We spent the days, from early morning, sometimes hitting the beach at 6am, until late afternoon, surfing (board and body-surfing), sunbathing (in the days when sun cancer wasn't a term in our vocabularly) and our nights were spent dancing our feet off at either the dances at the RSL Hall in Tewantin or various record hops. On the long weekends, midnight to dawn record hops were organised, so we would be dancing through the nights! I remember a couple of instances where I had blisters on the soles of my feet from 'rockin' & rollin' all night long!
Alcohol wasn't a big part of our equation, nor were sex and drugs. When alcohol was present, binge-drinking definitely wasn't part of it. We weren't supposed to be drinking so, although not totally abiding by the rules, we had respect for the rules and didn't abuse the fact that we were drinking illegally. I know in my case, and that of my group of friends, we still had our parents to answer if we stepped over the line. (And you can guarantee they would have heard about our behaviour somehow or other...lots of 'bush-telegraphs" and bush-tom-toms' around in those days!) I'm not saying we were a bunch of prudes...we weren't...but we had respect for our parents and ourselves.
So many of the young people of today appear to lack respect for their parents, themselves or each other. A lot of the time, I believe the blame is upon the parents. When I first moved to the mountain, I cooked in a restaurant up here. A young sixteen-year old lass who was still going to school at the time but doing work experience on weekends at the restaurant was heading off to the Gold Coast for 'Schoolies' Week'. Her parents loaded up the boot of their car with booze for her to take to the coast. They drove her down! Great message, I thought! (Hang on! I'll take my tongue out of my cheek and remove the sarcasm key!)
It's all a bit sad and a bit crazy, I reckon! I know if I had kids attending 'Schoolies' I'd be worried sick. I would hope that I had instilled in them good values but there are just so many dangerous traps for kids today to fall into and so many bad characters around who prey on them, looking for the slightest, smallest chink in their young armour.