Feature: Top Ten Peculiar School “Bans”

-Some say that schools are great institutions. Others perceive that some lack a total grip on common sense, fearful of hyperbole reporting, hiding behind the black-and-white world of the ‘school policy’. We’ve scoured news stories, coming up with some of the most bizarre cases of schools banning items, and we’ll let you judge whether the bans are sensible, or an over-reaction. We’ve counted down our Top Ten of peculiar school bans globally:

10. E –cigarettes

It is probably a sad state of affairs when a school has to ban items which should not really be in the school premises anyway, but a school in East Lancashire (England) decided to ban them as they were becoming a fashionable item with students. Norden High School barred the items from school grounds after seeing a rise in their use – a sad indictment of the habit, and many will find it difficult to argue against this ban.

News Story: Lancashire Telegraph.

9. Red Ink

Teachers at Mounts Bay Academy near Penzance, Cornwall (England) were banned from marking in red pen because it is judged as a ‘very negative colour’. The Vice Principle at the school said, “A lot of primary schools are already using a similar system amazingly well and I think it was felt that red ink was a very negative colour.”

News Story: The CornishMan.

8. Wearing bracelets to support classmate with leukaemia

Pupils in Rugby (England) wanted to express their support to a fellow student who had fallen ill with leukaemia, deciding to wear plastic bracelets to show their backing. The school banned them saying, “We spoke to students and said that they could show their support by attaching the bracelets to bags or keys but not wear them as bracelets, in order to comply with our policies”.

News Story: Daily Mail.

7. Shaved Heads

Similarly, a girl in Grand Junction, USA, shaved her head to support her friend who was battling cancer. Subsequently, she was banned from her school – Caprock Academy – when it declared that the action was a clear violation of the dress code, which was designed to “promote uniformity.” Once in the public domain, the school declared, “sometimes exceptions can be made to the dress code policy under extraordinary circumstances.”

News Story: 9News.

6. My Little Pony bag (for a 9-year-old boy)

In the USA, a North Carolina school ordered a 9-year old boy to stop wearing his My Little Pony bag, as it was making him a target for bullies. Grayson Bruce was told by Candler Elementary School that his lunch bag, which features the character Rainbow Dash from the TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, is a “trigger for bullying”, and that he should stop bringing it in. His mother thinks the school should try to punish the actual bullies, instead of focussing on her son.

News Story: Pink News.

5. Triangle Shaped Flapjacks

This follows an incident at Castle View School in Canvey Island, Essex (England), when a boy was hit in the face by a flapjack. The school banned Triangle shaped flapjacks, hiding behind ‘Health and Safety’ concerns. However, a spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said: “We often come across half-baked decisions taken in the name of health and safety, but this one takes the biscuit.”

News Story: BBC.

4. Dialect / Slang

Quite a few schools have banned pupils from speaking in their cultural dialect, or from using slang words when on school premises. Staff at one primary school in Halesowen, England, drew up a list of offending Black Country phrases as part of the zero tolerance policy, and a list of slang words and phrases have been banned as part of a new initiative at a school in South London, ‘innit’. ‘Basically’, the school created designated ‘formal language zones’, which includes all classrooms and corridors, ‘yeah’!

News Stories: The Telegraph; The Guardian.

3. High-Fives

A primary school in Australia was reportedly punishing students with “counselling sessions” if they were caught giving high fives, hugging or playing tig, basketball or football. The Education Minister refused to intervene despite parents and child psychologists labelling the blanket non-contact policy at Mt Martha Primary School “ridiculous”, “over the top” and “crazy”.

News Story: Herald Sun.

2. Balls

A Toronto (Canada) elementary school banned most balls from its playground, citing the need to protect staff and students after a parent got hit in the head with a soccer ball. The policy infuriated parents and students, and exposes what child-health researchers say is a growing focus on child safety that is keeping kids from being physically active. Another school, in in south-eastern Connecticut (USA), wanted recess to be a less physically competitive time.

News Stories: National Post; New York Times.

1. Running (at Play-time/Recess)

One unnamed school board in the USA instituted a “no running policy” during recess. To make matters worse, the school’s break period was only 10 minutes long to begin with. One parent blasted, “I am, of course, appalled by this, feeling that the kids need to be able to blow off a little steam during those 10 minutes of their day. Plus, kids need more exercise, not less. What’s next, no running for soccer/baseball/lacrosse practice?” Oh, those lacrosse lessons! Similarly, one school in Bolton (England) banned tig/tag and British bulldog – because they are ‘too dangerous’

News Stories: Parenting.com; Bolton News.

In contrast, we recently reported how a school in New Zealand had banned playtime/recess rules, allowing the pupils to self-police, with surprisingly positive reactions from pupils and their parents.

Does you school have bans, which made you raise your eye-brows in disbelief? We’d love to hear about them, with your anonymity assured. Please contact us via the form on www.ukedchat.com/contact, and we’ll add the story to this list.

Image Sources: https://merge.it/Images/

Article created by Chief Editor, Colin Hill – Follow on Twitter @chilledu


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About UKEdChat Editorial 3188 Articles
The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.


  1. If memory serves, British Bulldog actually was a bit dangerous in the final stage of the game, and my school banned it as well (that was back in the mid 90s). Tig, on the other hand, was never really banned, even after a kid actually fell and broke his arm during a game. I think intent is important – in tig accidents can happen – bulldog is a very rough game and accidents WILL happen

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