Head claims ‘most’ parents are in favour
A secondary school in Leicestershire has told parents that new rules to apply to their kids from September include always smiling, maintaining eye-contact with teachers, responding to command whistles – and not go to the toilet between classes, look out of the window or even pick up a pencil or ruler without permission. The rules instituted by the school’s new head are:
- Always smile
- respond to a series of whistle commands by staff
- if spoken to by a teacher, respond in an ‘upbeat’ manner
- wait for permission to pick up a pencil or ruler
- enter the classroom in single file
- ‘never forget to say Sir or Miss’
- always sit up straight
- not walk in groups of more than two
- ‘thank your teacher for your lesson’
- no looking out of windows during class
- no turning round in class even if you hear a noise
Understandably, parents responded with dismay to the new rules, which are more reminiscent of North Korean oppression and ‘Brave New World’ thought control than school. One commented, “Tell me you’re turning children into robots without telling me you’re turning children into robots”, while another said, “The smile part is just wrong. You can’t be forced to smile at all times.”
The head has claimed that ‘most’ parents support the new rules and that they are preparation for adult life.
Maybe in Tory ‘One Britain One Nation’, but not in the real world. Schools are meant to teach children how to think, not what to think – let alone the consequences for mental health if children are obliged to hide their real feelings. Neurodiverse children, for example those with autism or others who might struggle to maintain eye-contact, are surely also directly discriminated against by such rules.
This country needs more dissent, not less.
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