Crispin School was trying to make a point about standards, attention to detail, and the road to success. However, its decision to use shoes to help make the point rubbed some parents the wrong way.
As Good to Know reports, the school in Somerset, England, wanted to draw attention to the fact the students who were most successful also paid attention to their appearance. So Crispin shared a photo of some high-achievers from the school on Facebook — or, more accurately, their shoes.
Why the shoes? The school website states the uniform requires “black leather shoes.” As the school wrote, it sees a connection between wearing proper footwear and performing well:
It has become apparent that those students with the strongest academic progress, those achieving in areas such as sport, music and the arts and those who have helped out and conducted themselves well around school are “sharply” dressed. With a nod to Street’s history, we have particularly chosen to emphasize the link between success and footwear.
In other words, good students (those who were especially helpful or performed well) wear shoes that fit the school uniform:
Those students achieving are wearing the correct footwear. Admittedly, some students would have reached for the polish had they known their feet would be under the spotlight but the correlation between success, doing the right things and being helpful students is a strong one.
Where the school saw studious attention to detail, however, some parents saw snobbery and a bias against the poor.
In response to the school’s post, several parents complained about the focus on footwear, saying the school’s point was ridiculous. One wrote:
What a pile of rubbish. It’s ridiculous to say your footwear helps you achieve. It clearly does not. What you are pointing out are those students that do well also (whether coincidence or not — and that can’t be proven) have what you yourselves class as “good footwear.” My opinion is they look hideous as I have different style choices to the school. So please don’t oppress your opinion on pupils.
Another commenter pointed out that one of the shoes being complimented belonged to her daughter, whose own academic performance had not changed when she switched between acceptable and “unacceptable” shoes:
By all means focus on academic achievement, cultural strengths, community spirit etc etc.
But to do so via the choice of footwear — a choice of their parents, surely, and one which actually reflects disposable income more than hard work — trivialises what these young people have done.
Multiple parents even suggested the post was an attempt to bully and shame students who couldn’t afford the “right” shoes. As one commenter wrote:
What a pile of rubbish. Maybe your pupils don’t learn because they feel bullied and uncomfortable because they are from a background that doesn’t have as much and the school doesn’t understand. Now you publicly humiliate them on Facebook. Excellent way to motivate.
However, not everyone was offended by the school’s post. Some felt it was a perfectly reasonable comparison and that a student who cared about appearance and uniform rules would be more attentive in school. One commenter wrote:
People who take care of their shoes understand the importance of maintenance in other areas of their lives. They are able to look ahead and make decisions that support their future. They are organised and can plan tasks into their schedule. No surprise that they are also the highest achievers.
Rather than seeing it as an issue of expense, those who supported the school felt it was a question of effort:
So true. If you, “bother to dress then you are bothered!” Well done Crispin to point out the fact that effort gives reward. Life ain’t easy. Make an effort. Lazy and cheap does not make for life success
Another commenter said:
Absolutely agree — those who care about their appearance and follow some basic school rules are generally the ones who do better. I do say “generally” and it has nothing to do with affordability. Many of those in the “wrong” footwear are likely wearing expensive, branded trainers rather than the proscribed school footwear.
What do you think? Does the school have a point about the road to success or is this a question of snobbery and discrimination?