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Embarrassment at graduation day over textbook

WHEN Belinda Miller's daughter walked across the stage at the Maroochydore State High School she looked forward to receiving a yearbook of memories and a graduation certificate.

Instead she was handed a $64 bill for an outstanding maths textbook.

Ms Miller was outraged the school lumped an ongoing textbook dispute on her daughter on this most special day of her school life.

"My daughter was bawling her eyes out and I was crying as well to see her so upset," Ms Miller said.

"It was sheer embarrassment for her. Everyone else was looking through their yearbooks and all she had was a school folder with a bill inside."

Ms Miller, a mother of four, has been in discussions with Maroochydore High over fees since her now 17-year-old daughter started at the school in Year 9.

The single mother has two other children at the school and pays all fees weekly via direct debit.

But Ms Miller alleges that because the payments were under one surname, one of her children was $400 in credit but her graduating daughter was listed as in debt and never received her maths textbook in Year 12.

Ms Miller said she had been to the school several times to sort out a payment plan for the outstanding fees, which she said were paid before her daughter's graduation.

Education Queensland regional director Greg Peach said textbooks were an expensive school asset and it was important students returned them at the end of the year.

"Maroochydore State High School students were reminded on numerous occasions, both at assemblies and in writing, that outstanding textbook fees must be finalised in order to receive the complete graduation package," Mr Peach said.

"At the Maroochydore State High School graduation, students received a school certificate - not their official QCE certificate.

"In this instance, the school made numerous attempts to contact the family prior to graduation to resolve this issue."

Ms Miller said she understood there were policies in place, but she was "disgusted" by the way the school handled the situation.

"Pushing this on to the kids is just unfair. Being a single mother and especially at this time of year, it's a real juggling act," Ms Miller said.

"The certificate doesn't matter so much any more, but I am sick of kids being held ransom over fees."

Topics:  ceremony graduation



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