Protests spiral at yet more schools as girls say having to share loos with boys makes them 'vulnerable' and 'uncomfortable'

2 March 2023, 19:33

Children protesting
Children protesting. Picture: TikTok

By Kit Heren

Protests against school rules have spread further across the country, with girls in several institutions voicing their displeasure against having to share toilets with boys, among other policies.

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Demonstrations, allegedly fuelled by videos posted on TikTok, broke out at Oasis Academy Mayfield school in Southampton, close to a school in Hampshire that has already seen protests, and Warriner School in Oxfordshire.

Teachers set off fire alarms to break up the protest in Southampton, as students chanted "toilet rights".

One student told MailOnline: "Unisex toilets make me feel extremely vulnerable and uncomfortable. It feels sometimes as if I don't have as much privacy as I would like due to these toilets. Also, it is really damaging when I am not allowed to go to the toilet while I am on my period.

"It feels as if I have to fight against the teachers for a basic human right and it makes me wonder if our school is truly as progressive as they say they are."

Students protesting
Students protesting. Picture: Twitter

The school's senior leadership team told students that if they carried on protesting, they would not be able to go to the prom.

It follows other demonstrations that took place in recent days in Essex, Blackpool, Yorkshire, Cornwall and Lincolnshire, with students launching wild protests and posting footage on the social media platform.

Videos have circulated of students disrupting school activities over rules they dislike, including toilet and uniform policies.

Another recent protest took place on Friday at the Warriner School in Oxfordshire over school rules prescribing a gender neutral PE kit and banning skirts.

Students protesting
Students protesting. Picture: TikTok

The school overturned the ban and said it was sorry after the protests.

Dr Annabel Kay, the executive headteacher, said she was sorry for "under-estimating the strength of feeling on this issue' and 'not properly engaging or consulting with all parents and students".

She added: "We have listened to our students and we are committed to engaging further on our uniform policy, and on other future policy changes, with both parents and students in a constructive and positive manner."

Pupils demonstrating
Pupils demonstrating. Picture: TikTok

Other protests include students at Weston Secondary School in Southampton protesting over rules that mean boys and girls can use the same toilets.

Pupil Cloe, 14, said: "We don't think it's fair, girls in our school are not comfortable. People think it's funny to unlock the doors while you're in there.

The children have been protesting over school rules
The children have been protesting over school rules. Picture: TikTok

"We're trying to tell the teachers that it's just not fair. We've tried to talk to them before we did a protest but they're just ignoring it."

Another 14-year-old added: "We have gone to the headteacher about it before and they just tell you what you want to hear and don't do anything about it.

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"You're also not allowed to leave lessons to go to the toilet which isn't fair on girls who are menstruating.

"If you have a girl emergency you should be allowed to go to the toilet when you need to."

Kids have been demonstrating over several school rules
Kids have been demonstrating over several school rules. Picture: TikTok

The boys have got this thing about putting their phone over the toilet or under the doors to try to get pictures of them.'I am not happy, I don't like the fact my daughter is uncomfortable going to the toilet - she's a child, she's a minor.

"She's not going to the toilet all day while she's at school.

"I have even contacted the school about it but they haven't done anything.

"Why did the school not tell us about it before and get people's opinions before they put something in place?"

Children gathered in a protest
Children gathered in a protest. Picture: TikTok

Meanwhile students at Unity Academy Blackpool protested over school rules that staff said had been in place for years.

Headteacher Stephen Cooke said the demonstrations were fuelled by pupils seeing similar actions at other schools in recent days on social media.

He added: "Student voice is important to the academy and in order to ensure all students had an opportunity to share concerns, form time was extended this morning by ten minutes in order to offer the opportunity for students to share these concerns, which colleagues committed to responding to later on this week."

Mr Cooke added: 'Despite providing opportunities for this morning, a very small number of the school population (less than 5 per cent) chose to take part in a protest by not going to class after the lunch break.

This emotional caller remembers when he violently bullied someone at primary school.

"The number of students reduced quickly and they were supervised by staff at all times. The 'protest' lasted for around 15 minutes before being brought to a calm conclusion by staff."

Meanwhile students at Shenfield High School in Essex also protested, with footage on social media of exercise books being trampled on the floor and overturned chairs.

These protests come after separate demonstrations in Cornwall, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire last week after pupils were banned from going to the toilet during classes.

A spokesman for the government's department for education said: 'We are concerned at the reports of disruption and will be in touch with all schools and local authorities to ensure they are supported at this time.

"We will always back headteachers to take the action required to maintain calm and supportive classroom environments as they are best placed to work with their teachers, parents, pupils and local communities when developing and implementing policies."

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