By Teachers, For Teachers
What is this world coming to? Schools are famous for banning all kinds of dangerous elements from their grounds, from gangs and guns to books and swearing. But sometimes schools take an extreme stance on items whose dangers are … well … less evident. Take a look at these interesting things banned from schools in recent years.
I suppose peanut butter’s days were numbered, considering the rise in food allergies and precautions in recent years. Schools in Athens, TN, finally pulled the trigger and formally banned peanut butter from its premises, citing that too many allergies and precautions made it just simpler to get rid of the treasured lunchtime condiment all together. Imagine getting sent to the principal’s office just for bringing your classic PB&J to school.
Considered far too revealing, yoga pants are steadily being stripped from the dress code and banned from schools. These tight-fitting pants have largely replaced sweatpants as the comfy pant of choice among school-aged girls; unfortunately, they leave little to the imagination, sparking concern overly modesty and distraction issues. A school in Rockport, MA, sent home 20 female students when they showed up in the banned apparel. Is the ban a good thing? Some think it’s a stretch.
Yes. The Dictionary. Has. Been. Banned. But if you think about it (and I mean really think about it), the dictionary has served as a gateway to sexuality, drugs and other depraved behaviors. When a student, of course accidentally, found “oral sex” in Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the Golden State Menifee Union School District decided upon a parent’s urging to remove the dictionary from its shelves. Now there is a call for “age appropriate” dictionaries. True story.
Let’s face it: Touching leads to trouble. Hugs are stimulating, high fives are dangerous, and tag ostracizes the slow kids. It’s time that these unacceptable forms of contact are finally expelled from schools for good. In some cases, hugs have been deemed as an inappropriate form of touching, and are no longer allowed between students in schools from Florida to Oregon.
The Kentucky Athletic High School Association recommended that the long-standing tradition of the post-game handshake be abolished. The thinking goes that the association did not want to formally facilitate any post-game interactions that might result in more than just handshakes being exchanged from heated players. This was just a recommendation, not a ban; but it was enough to receive strong, negative feedback from state athletes.
We all know that banning mustaches is volatile subject, which is why this type story is more of a rarity. However, in 2012, a student in English was denied his right to grow this facial token of manhood. Actually, the school didn’t have a problem with the mustache itself, per say; the student – a 13-year-old whose excessive manliness caused him to be one of the few in his school who could grow one – wanted to grow it for a fundraiser. The school couldn’t approve of a fundraiser where only one student could participate, but with some negotiated modifications they were able to work things out.
Sticking with our progressive British brethren, other schools in the UK have discouraged students from keeping “best friends.” Instead of isolating themselves into pairs or small groups, children are encouraged to play with everyone equally. This would also hypothetically spare children the difficult emotions they might experience were the friendships to end.
The most recent campaign against breast cancer involves stating the obvious: We love boobs, and want to save them. Unfortunately, despite the popularity of the “I love boobies” and “Save the boobies” bracelets, wristbands, shirts, and other gear, some schools have determined that this phrase is too suggestive – and possibly demeaning – and have restricted students from donning the phrase. A high school in Fort Wayne, IN, recently had its ban upheld by a federal court judge.
What do you think of these above? Are there any other interesting things you know of that we could add to our peculiar list? Let us know in the comments below!
Jordan Catapano is an English teacher at Conant High School in a Chicago suburb. In addition to being National Board Certificated, he also sits as the District Leader for the Illinois Association of Teachers of English and serves as a school board member for a private school. You can follow him on Twitter at @BuffEnglish, or visit his website ACTWritingTips.com.