Year 12 student denied graduation ceremony over unpaid school fees
EDMONTON mother Nicole Widdows is upset and angry after her son was told he would not be allowed to attend his Year 12 formal and graduation because of overdue school fees.
The mother-of-three said her son Jayden, who attends state-run Bentley Park College, approached administration staff to pay $225 in fees on Thursday to attend the formal and graduation.
He was refused by a staff member, who said outstanding voluntary school fees needed to be paid first.
"I don't tell my son all our financial problems so he had no idea," Ms Widdows said.
"He was embarrassed and ashamed. I'm not disputing that we owe the money, it's the way they handled it. I'm just so upset about it."
Ms Widdows said she owed $240 in voluntary school fees as part of the Student Resource Scheme.
"I signed the agreement but I just didn't pay it," she said.
"I've paid my fees for the last six years and this year we are just going through a tough time financially.
"This is discrimination at its best. The school fees are for a public school and are voluntary."
Education Queensland regional director Clive Dixon said parents could choose to sign up for the scheme at the beginning of the school year to purchase textbooks at a cheaper price and said all Year 12 students had been invited to attend the Year 12 graduation ceremony.
"The Year 12 formal, however, is an extra-curricular event, and students must meet certain conditions to be able to attend," he said.
"A letter was sent to some parents of Year 12 students reminding them that, as an extra-curricular event, students would only be eligible to attend if their outstanding Student Resource Scheme fees were settled."
Ms Widdows said tickets to the upcoming formal cost $85 while the graduation ceremony cost $15 per person and the awards ceremony cost $5 each.
"I was talking to Jayden last night about it and he said there are so many of his friends in the same boat," she said.
"It's not really fair, he has worked really hard for 12 years. He is a good boy, that's why it was a kick in the stomach."
After calls from The Cairns Post, Ms Widdows was told by the school's finance department yesterday that her son would be able to attend the formal and graduation ceremony if owing fees were paid on Monday.
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Upset: Edmonton mother Nicole Widdows is upset and angry after her son was told he would not be allowed to attend his Year 12 formal and graduation because of overdue school fees. Picture: TOM LEE.