Students at Sydney all-girls Catholic school St Ursula’s College are petitioning online after being told by the school they are not allowed to bring a partner of the same-sex as their Year 12 formal date. No, you didn’t fall in a time machine — this did just happen in 2023.
St Ursula’s notified parents and students on Tuesday of the controversial decision which has left some students “distraught“. Students attending formal are prevented from bringing a partner of the same sex as their plus one, regardless of the status of the relationship.
I’ve heard of schools making pretty illogical policy decisions before, but this one takes the cake.
However not all students are accepting this “discriminatory” policy as the final straw.
Abbie Frankland, one of the students at St Ursula’s, launched a change.org petition to get her school to reverse the ruling. The petition received 4,901 supporters before being closed on Friday.
On the change.org post, Frankland said she and many other girls at the school are upset by this decision from the school, writing that “this policy not only discriminates against LGBTQ+ students but also puts us in a difficult financial situation as we are left with non-refundable tickets and clothes that were bought specifically for this occasion.”
Frankland even cites data from the 2017 Same-Sex Marriage plebiscite in which the ‘Yes’ vote had a 61 per cent majority across the country, stating that her school should “align itself with these values by allowing all students – regardless of their sexual orientation – to bring their chosen partner to the school formal.”
The news of St Ursula’s decision has been widely slammed by everyone from LGBTQIA+ activist groups who said this ruling was “the tip of the iceberg” for discrimination, to NSW Premier Chris Minns who sided with the petition.
“I think in this day and age you should be able to take anyone you like to your year 12 formal – we are after all talking about teenagers who are close to or over the age of 18,” stated Minns, an ex-Catholic school student himself.
However a week later on Friday November 3, Frankland gave a positive update on the school’s final decision on her Change.org petition.
“Today, we are thrilled to share we received a decision from the school, and they have granted permission for me to attend the school formal with my girlfriend Emily!” wrote Frankland.
St Ursula’s reversed their controversial decision on November 3, just less than a week before the formal.
Frankland sent her thanks to all who signed her petition, allowing her and her girlfriend to enjoy their formal together.
Image source: Nine Honey.
[Updated: Friday November 3]