FORMAL: Jacob Cauchi didn't get to go to his formal in Gympie.
FORMAL: Jacob Cauchi didn't get to go to his formal in Gympie. Renee Albrecht

'I am angry': Student banned from attending formal

FOR Gympie State High School graduate Jacob Cauchi, the Year 12 formal was meant to be a culmination of 13 years of schooling.

It was meant to be his night of nights. However, due to a culmination of absentee days throughout the school year, Jacob was banned from the formal on Thursday night.

Left alone while his mates partied the night away, Jacob was forced to wait at home contemplating one of the toughest years he has had in his life.

2017 has been a tragic year for the teen who wants to be a lawyer. His best friend Jacob Roy died in tragic circumstances early this year.

"I was at school when I heard (About Roy's death)," Jacob said.

"I just broke down."

Jacob Roy, who was run off the road while he was on his skateboard by a drink driver in 2014.
Jacob Roy Renee Pilcher

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After his mate's passing, Jacob sought counselling to help deal with the grief.

He said most of the counselling sessions were scheduled during school hours and as a result missed about three weeks in total.

Jacob acknowledged the school's role in helping him find support, but felt hard done by on its no-formal stance.

"Thirteen years of schooling and not being able to attend my formal, I am angry," Jacob said.

"I am angry with how the school has reacted to the situation.

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"It makes me feel even worse knowing I have had friends that just haven't turned up to school and they have still been able to go to the formal.

A Department of Education and Training spokesperson said Gympie State High School set a very high standard for student behaviour, but could not comment on individual students.

"In consultation with the schools community, including the P&C, the school has a Good Standing Policy for students to receive invitations to the formal," they said.

"This requires students to have an adequate attend- ance rate, have completed the assigned assessment tasks, and had demon- strated good behaviour throughout the year.

"The school has continually worked with students who were at risk of falling short to ensure every opportunity to achieve Good Standing.

"As part of the formal invitation process, students who were not in Good Standing were informed six weeks ago, and offered an opportunity to discuss the decision with the principal and explain any mitigating circumstances or develop a plan to improve their standing."