Student banned from formal despite medical condition
HARRISTOWN State High School student Samantha Oliver is devastated she has been banned from her school formal.
When the invitations went out to Year 12 students, she didn't receive one.
She approached the deputy principal and was told her attendance didn't meet school standards.
She has her dress and has put deposits on hair and make-up.
Hundreds of dollars will go to waste because she was sick this year and couldn't attend school every day.
She isn't the only one banned.
Ms Oliver said 71 other students also missed out on an invitation to attend their special night.
"I don't know how many students have had their ban overturned but mine hasn't been," she said.
"It makes me feel like crap because I've waited 12 years for this. Now I can't get my formal photos.
"My sisters have their's and they are hung up around the house but I won't have that.
"I called my mum and bawled my eyes out because I was so upset about it."
Ms Oliver has chronic asthma and attacks can leave her hospitalised.
She also suffers from severe hay fever.
The deputy principal advised her that if she could explain her 30 unexplained absences she could attend.
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Her mum, Gail Oliver, gathered doctor's certificates, a specialist's certificate for allergy testing and a letter from the hospital.
It still wasn't good enough.
Ms Oliver said although she wasn't a straight A student she had never received less than a C on an assignment or exam.
She is well behaved and teachers have told her mum that she is lovely to teach.
Mrs Oliver said she couldn't understand why her daughter was still not able to go to formal.
"I would understand if Samantha just didn't go to school but she has been sick," she said.
"I work full time and care for my sick mother and sometimes it slips my mind to call the school."
Mrs Oliver has contacted the Department of Education and was advised to schedule a meeting with the principal to discuss the matter.
She said after several failed attempts to book an appointment she gave up.
The formal is next week and Ms Oliver is still hoping the school will change its mind and let her attend.
Harristown State High School principal Ken Green was contacted but did not wish to make a statement.
A Department of Education and Training spokesperson said each school makes its own decisions regarding guidelines and arrangements for school formal attendance.
Formals are extracurricular school activities and students must meet certain conditions to be able to attend the formal. These include the student's effort at school, the student's behaviour and the student's attendance record
Absences justified by medical certificates are taken into account when ascertaining a student's attendance rate.
Attendance rates required have been communicated to students since the very beginning of the year and all students have their attendance rate communicated to them at the end of every term.
Early advice is given to students at risk of not attaining the required attendance rate and support is provided to increase attendance.
The Department is committed to increasing student attendance rates at all state schools and support principals in their decisions regarding matters of student attendance.