Teachers at Quest Academy, in Selsdon, are seizing jackets if students are seen wearing or carrying them indoors.
Pupils say it is “unbelievable” to introduce the rule at a time of year when many walk home in freezing weather.
But they get the coats back, don’t they?
Student Bilal Afghan, 14, said: “The actual rule is, that once the school day has started, if you’re inside the building with a coat on, it’s confiscated.
“If you are holding your coat in the school building and it’s not either in your bag or locker, or is in sight of the teachers at all, it is confiscated for a month and kept at school.
…my friend’s coat was taken away from him and he had his phone and wallet in it. They wouldn’t let him get them until the next day.”
Hmmmm, not sure I’d agree with that, but then, if those are the rules, those are the rules.
It is not the first time the academy’s disciplinary code has been questioned.
Last year the Advertiser reported how it had earned the nickname “the prison” among pupils and parents after hugs, high-fives and handshakes were banned.
Ah. Well, of course. Cracking down on ‘gang culture’ is no doubt the reason behind that one, but the coats issue is a little odder.
The principal (yes, an Americanism we could well do without) doesn’t shed any light on it either:
Responding to the criticism, principal Andy Crofts said: “The Quest’s uniform policy clearly states that outside coats are not to be worn inside the buildings after morning registration.
“This requirement has been clearly explained to all students.
“To assist students with keeping their coats and other possessions safe and secure, every student has been issued with a personal locker and is expected to use it for this purpose.
“If a student doesn’t follow our requirements then there are consequences, which can include confiscation.
“Students can always avoid this situation by doing the right thing, and we work hard to ensure that all students make the right choices and accept responsibility for their actions.
“That’s part of being a successful school.”
Some note that the school doesn’t explain their rule and they should do:
“The response from the principal is telling – “This is our rule because this is our rule. Pupils who do not follow the rules will be punished, those who do follow the rules will not be punished.” There is an interesting absence of any attempt to explain or justify this rule, which appears then to be entirely arbitrary.”
But….should they have to explain and/or justify it? Are they entitled to demand this, and if the explanation is not forthcoming, or doesn’t suit them, disobey it?
The next commenter makes quite a valid point:
“I am sorry, this is why some school are in a terrible state of affairs, with parents and children ruling the school! When I grew up our coats were left in our lockers and you only used them at break times or home time! Some children today along with their parents need to get a life and shut up and respect the rules, rules are rules “what are they going to do when they work in the real world””
This ties in quite neatly with the post MacHeath wrote on the decline of respect and the child-centred culture ruining our schools. Life’s full of arbitrary rules, after all.
And another commenter advances a possible valid fear driving this, given the school’s catchment area and former reputation:
“I’m sure this rule has been made for a reason and it will not be because teachers have a phobia about seeing coats. Criminals carry coats to conceal the handcuffs. Perhaps schoolkids carry coats to conceal the knives.
It’s worth thinking about.