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'School invaded my daughter's rights'

Posted by: Mark Davidson | 29 May, 2014 - 12:48 PM
Teacher razor

A mother is furious that a teacher shaved her teenage daughter's armpits in front of the class as part of the school's "life skills" program.

Melissa Woods said 14-year-old Taylah came home "extremely upset" after being made to shave and told she "will get picked on" if her underarms are hairy.

Wangaratta District Specialist School said that lessons on personal care are part of the curriculum, but Ms Woods said she never gave permission for her daughter to be physically shaved.

"I spoke to the teacher the very next day and she told me she has the right to do it, it's part of the curriculum," Ms Woods said.

LISTEN IN FULL: Melissa Woods speaks to 3AW Mornings

"I wasn't satisfied with that so I went to the principal and sent her a letter. She wrote back saying... she regrets that they didn't have a permission slip for me to sign."

Ms Woods told Neil Mitchell her daughter has a condition called microcephaly, a neurodevelopmental disorder, as well as ADHD. She added that Taylah has in the past expressed apprehension towards shaving.

"She's seen me do it and she's told me before this happened that 'I don't want to do it'," she said.

"I said to her: 'That's fine. I have no problems with it. You come to me when you're ready.'

"But when the school did it I thought, 'No, that's invading her rights as a person to decided whether she wants to get it done or not.'"

Ms Woods said a practical demonstration was unnecessary as "at 14, she hardly had any hair there anyway".

Neil Mitchell said this kind of behaviour from the school "was from another era".

LISTEN IN FULL: Melissa Woods speaks to 3AW Mornings

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Blog comments Your Say

  • When my son was at special school they did have life skills lessons which included learning to shave for boys too...I dont recall them actually shaving anyone tho.They used paddle pop sticks I believe. Young adults with learning challenges do need to understand their body is changing and personal hygiene can be a big problem with kids who have disabilities...it was meant as a lesson like washing hands and toileting. We had to sign consent forms and at NO time were the kids embarrased or singled out. This is terrible and the school MUST explain!

    karen wilson Friday 30 May, 2014 - 9:23 AM
  • How utterly stupid is this so called 'teacher'. It never ceases to amaze me the number of abject freaks that become teachers. It is little wonder the minds of their pupils are in a mess indeed.

    Keith A Tudor Friday 30 May, 2014 - 8:05 AM
  • Would any teacher in a "conventional" school ever do this?
    I doubt it.

    Helen Tyack Friday 30 May, 2014 - 7:52 AM
  • This teacher has well and truly over stepped the mark this is assault . Three words
    Slatter and Gordon !

    John Friday 30 May, 2014 - 12:56 AM
  • I have never responded on line to any comments before but How dare they? I can't describe my anger and disbelief that a female is maligned for having natural pubic hair no matter what her age, lets shave all the males out there and see the reaction. Give us a break we are adults not figments of pedophilia imagination, ohh I am so angry that a school has these views.

    narelle Thursday 29 May, 2014 - 7:51 PM
  • Wow what venous bile you people are spewing !
    What a storm in a teacup. You are treating this teacher like a war criminal! Let's sue! Seriously !!
    I'm glad you lot are not in charge of solving the worlds problems. Mrs woods said herself "we don't have a great relationship with the school anyway" I work in mental health . I would not like to imagine the current mental state of the teacher after reading your well reasoned and measured respond to a non issue , by the way that last bit id sarcasm!
    Well done keyboard warriors!

    Shane Thursday 29 May, 2014 - 7:15 PM

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