Schools admit they are extremely worried about the copycat protests that have erupted in the last two weeks, typically sparked by videos shared on TikTok with many thousands of views. But what has shocked many leaders most is the number of parents on social media applauding pupils taking part.Because this isn't just a case of don't-care, my-child-can-do-no-wrong chav parents. Far from it.
Sam Strickland, principal of Duston school, an academy in Northampton that teaches children aged four to 19, told the Observer: “Some parents have been arguing that it is an infringement of human rights for schools to restrict toilet use during lessons. That’s ludicrous.”
Is it? I suspect if the local 'refugee' centre told its inhabitants they could only use the toilets at certain times you'd be pretty vocal about it at cocktail parties with your fellow teaching heads...
He argues that parents are “legitimising” demonstrations that could quickly get out of hand and become a serious risk to young people’s safety, by openly questioning the fairness of school rules and the authority of teachers.
You really believe you shouldn't be subject to questions on those issues, do you?
Chris Stokes, principal of Farnley Academy in Leeds, wrote to parents on 24 February condemning a protest at his school that morning over locked toilets during lessons. A parent told the local newspaper the school was infringing young people’s human rights. Others backed her up on social media.
But Stokes said in his letter that the decision to lock toilets had followed “two very serious safeguarding events”. He wrote: “It was a necessary decision to keep all pupils safe.”
Because collective punishment is the easy way out, rather than dealing with those who break the rules. As expected.