Manly School Removes 70 Students From Year 10 Graduation Ceremony Over Fake Nails

It's the time of year when parents, friends, and family can look on proudly as students are celebrated for years of hard work and academic, sporting and social achievements. 

It's understandable then that Manly parents and family are furious after 70 students were barred from attending their Year 10 graduation at Mackellar Girls Campus because they were wearing "acrylic nails and other minor uniform transgressions".


If two students couldn't attend or if there were 700, the message is the same, and it is a message that is both outdated and offensive to women, men and our future generations. What year are we living in again?


You read that correctly. In 2022, these students have had their achievements diminished to what they wear. Measures like this reinforce the idea that a young person's worth is entirely defined by appearance - and the wrong choice can wipe out acknowledgment and celebration of years of hard work. 

The story, which first appeared on the Manly Observer social media page and Instagram, has left the Manly community and parents across the internet at large in shock that such outdated values are being instilled in young men and women responsible for our country's future. 

One furious parent told the Manly Observer that the 70 students, "or half of the graduating students," were denied access to the stage yesterday to receive their graduation certificates. 

The students were removed away from the ceremony. Some were eventually allowed in but sent to the back of the hall. The school denied enough students entry to the ceremony to fill two classrooms despite their parents waiting to watch them, many taking time off work to see their children graduate and celebrate their accomplishments. 


Acrylic nails are the catalyst for the drama.


According to the Department of Education, only about 20 girls were exempted from the ceremony due to violations of the dress code (including fake nails) by being made to sit at the back of the hall. It was confirmed there were 57 students who were excluded elsewhere, but the school has said this is because they were late.

Parents have argued the lateness argument saying this is absolutely not true.

The Manly Observer spoke with a parent who explained how the distressing experience played out. 

"My daughter had been told in a previous email that to walk the stage for the graduation ceremony, girls couldn't have unnaturally covered nails," Ms Cole said. The communication reminds students that brightly coloured nails and fake eyelashes are forbidden.

 "Their Year 10 formal was last Thursday, and they did get fake nails put on, but it was a French polish, which is a natural nail colour with a white tip on the end. She got that done as she was aware that there might be pushback on graduation day (for any other type of nail)."

"We arrived at school expecting the graduation to go ahead. We all sat down, and simultaneously, a bunch of parents got phone calls from their daughters. Eva called me saying I'm not allowed to walk on the stage because they don't like my nails. I'm in a classroom with a whole bunch of girls, and we're not allowed to go up onto the stage."

"The teachers were even saying that they disagreed with what they were doing, but they couldn't do anything about it," one parent told



The issue here is not how many students were refused entry to the ceremony, what type of fake nails the girls chose to wear (French or coloured) if they decided to wear fake eyelashes or had other uniform transgressions.  

The issue goes beyond the context of the formal season, making it seem more logical to leave the acrylic nails on between celebrations. 

The issue here is that we are yet again telling these young men and women that a woman's worth is entirely dependent on her body and what she is wearing - academic achievements be damned. 

If two students couldn't attend or if there were 700, the message is the same, and it is a message that is both outdated and offensive. 

There is endless debate over the topic, and we'd love to know your thoughts. 

Should the notice from the school that these uniform transgressions would not be tolerated excuse the removal of these students, or should we, like the many parents speaking out, call into question outdated formalities? 

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