A decision by the Tonga High School authorities to send home a number of students who wore “indecent” clothes on their school mufti day sparked fury from parents.
The school held a mufti day on October 2 and it was announced that all students have to wear proper Tongan formal attire.
Students who refused to comply were told to go home upon arrival and come back with the proper clothing.
The decision turned sour as it prompted parents to contact the school and media.
An anonymous source told Kaniva News the decision by the principal, ‘Amelia Folaumahina to send home her children without contacting her first was disappointing.
“See, just last year the ministry and our PTA committee met to address concerns that female students were found to be lured away from school and involved in inappropriate behaviour during school hours.
“As a result we hired a security guard company to monitor the school entrance everyday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.
“What happened here was the opposite of what we decided should happen. Our children dispersed in the town down Nuku’alofa during morning hours up to midday while I was at work. They ended up at the waterfront swimming.
“Who is going to be blamed if my children drowned at sea? And to tell them to go home because of their clothing, it is appalling to see decision makers come to such a terrible decision without considering the safety of my children first,” the source said.
Kaniva News could not make contact with the Tonga High School’s principal but was able to talk to one of its staff, Lu’isa Fainga Mahe.
Mahe said the students who wore “indecent” clothes were only asked to go home and come back in Tongan Formal Attire. That is for the girls to wear tupenu, ta’ovala as well as the boys.
She was told the parents were concerned at the principal’s decision to send home their children without the school contacting them first. Mahe said that was the only problem but that has been dealt with now.
Asked whether the claim by the parents that the school collected the mufti money before sending their children home was true, Mahe disagreed.
She said the clothing these students wore was inappropriate and against one of the causes of the mufti day which was to promote the faka’apa’apa faka-Tonga (Tongan culture of respect) in which clothing is of vital importance.