The West Australian government has announced a ban on students wearing jeans in state schools. There’s no sign of it on her website yet, but according to AAP “State Education Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich says denim … has no place in primary or secondary schools.”

“When students are at school I want them to be dressed appropriately,
ready to concentrate on the day’s work ahead … [Jeans] should be for
weekend wear, they are associated with having a good time, with
recreation, they should not be associated with school.”

Well, heaven forbid that anyone should think education was fun!

It may have escaped the minister’s attention that many people wear
jeans to work (I’m wearing a pair right now) and that denim first
became popular as a material for work clothes. But that all has to take
second place to the overriding need for regimentation in the schools,
and the fear of letting students make choices for themselves.

For those who notice, for example, Melbourne University’s plan to adopt the US system
of giving all undergraduates three years of general education before
they specialise, and wonder why the high schools aren’t doing that,
this story provides a clue. Just as in the US, our high schools are
becoming custodial institutions, not educational institutions.

In related news from Britain, a local council in Leicestershire has banned students
from living in a new housing development adjacent to Loughborough
University. University students are evidently regarded as undesirables
on a level with drug dealers and Islamic terrorists. Even one of the
residents who wants to keep students out told The Observer that “The council were trying to help, but it has gone too far. … We think it is drifting towards a police state.”

Peter Fray

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