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  • Rebecca Bianco

Student protests

Protests have erupted at several schools in the UK, among those in Cornwall, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, amid outrage over strict new rules. Pupils claim they are being stopped from taking breaks during lessons, among other things, with video footage showing many of them demonstrating against the changes.

A protest broke out in Penrice Academy, St Austell, Cornwall, on Friday as hundreds of students demonstrated against a new school rule which bans pupils from going to the toilet during lessons, according to reports. The new rule is also said to include a “red card scheme” in which females students need a special card to go to the toilet during class when on their period; the school said “red card period passes” can be requested ahead of time for pupils to keep in their bags and use when required. Criticising the policy, one mother said: “They should know by now that these rules are singling students out and will not be approved of by anyone. Red passes are a ridiculous idea. This is a complete invasion of young girls’ privacy.”

Pupils also protested outside Haven High Academy in Boston, Lincolnshire, after toilets and corridors were locked during lesson times. One parent compared the school policy to “prison rules.” The new policy was brought in to ensure student safety, according to the school.

One of the most famous protests currently circling around social media is that of Rainford High, St Helens, Merseyside. The girls say they have been routinely herded into a hall for uniform inspections where staff including male teachers check their skirt length with tape measures. Hundreds of pupils have walked out of lessons in protests at the measures, with boys turning up wearing skirts in solidarity.

Headteacher Ian Young told the Liverpool Echo the school came up with a ‘compromise’ after ‘approximately 45% of pupils’ started wearing skirts ‘significantly north of knee length’ this school year, but scrapped it after seeing little change, although no explanation was given as to how the 45% figure was calculated.

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