Inquiry into Dress Codes and School Uniforms in Victorian Schools

Ms Karen Ellingford

Executive Officer
Education and Training Committee
Parliament House
Spring Street
EAST MELBOURNE 3002

In response to the ‘Inquiry into Dress Codes and School Uniforms in Victorian Schools’, the Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc would wish to make the following points:

Dress Codes and the type of uniforms chosen should be as a result of consensus agreement between principals, staff, parents and school committees under the guidelines set out below.

* Such Codes and the type of uniforms chosen must reflect the secular nature of Australian society and not that of any particular religious, commercial or political ideological stance.
* Such Codes and the type of uniforms chosen, if of a religious, commercial or political nature, can create divisive feelings amongst students and the wider community, reinforcing negative stereotypical thoughts and behaviours.
* Such Codes and the type of uniforms must not include religious, commercial or political symbolism by way of jewellery or attached paraphernalia.
* Such Codes and the type of uniforms must not include headgear clearly indicating a religious, commercial or political persuasion. (E.g. Jewish skull cap – Islamic Hijab – Hindu turban – Ronald McDonald shoes?)
* Such Codes and the type of uniforms must be sun-smart without identifying with any particular religious, commercial or political ideological stance.
* Such Codes and the type of uniforms must not be used as a method of indoctrination into any particular religious, commercial or political ideology.
* There must be no exemptions to Dress Codes and School Uniforms chosen by principals, staff, parents and school committees, using the above provisos, apart from the situation where the health of the student is compromised by such regulation.

It is the considered opinion of the Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc that if Australia is to retain its privileged status of a harmonious country well into the future, religious, political or commercial symbolism must be kept out of all schools.

Yours Sincerely,

David Nicholls
President
Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc.


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