In Australian Parliament there is currently a debate over non-government schools' freedom to enrol students, or hire staff, based on factors the school decides are appropriate. It is a complex area and being addressed under the wider issue of discrimination.

I read with interest two schools facing the challenge of whether to enforce their stated public policies or to make individual or blanket exceptions. I expect this topic will continue to be covered in the media.

One school declined a six year old African American student from starting school due to his dreadlocks. His father claims it is part of his identity and culture and is suing the school.

In the other situation a former graduate is unlikely to be able to enroll his own son as his wife is a convert to Judaism rather than being born into the faith. At issue is the school leaders’ definition of being Jewish.

Some of the issues raised are whether the wider school community agree with these policies. I have seen schools have clear stated policies, of many issues, but which are not actually enforced. This can undermine confidence in the school. However enforcing stated policies which the school community do not agree with can cause division and unnecessary pain over relatively minor issues.

Word of mouth marketing is the single most powerful form of future student enrollments. Knowing who your target audience is a fundamental of marketing – however sometimes our perceptions are challenged.

Sources: Father files lawsuit after Christian School turned away first grader with dreadlocks

Source: Graduate’s son not welcome