Woodchurch High School in Birkenhead, England recently banned expensive luxury coats to combat bullying of kids from lower income homes. This ban may have good intentions but it is not only unfair, it will not eliminate a bully culture at school.
The school has banned pricier jackets, including brands such as Canada Goose, Pyrenex and Moncler. These items range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars, which leads one to wonder what this school deems to be too expensive for a jacket.
Fake Canada Goose jackets exist, the company even acknowledges this is a common occurrence and issue for them. How will the school know if a Canada Goose coat is real or fake and will both be banned, despite the price difference?
Kids have many ways to display name brands, including shoes, accessories, jewelry, clothing and electronics, such as phones and computers. If children are being bullied over lack of brand name products, despite the ban, bullying will still happen.
Canada Goose coats are known for being built for protection in extreme cold weather. The outwear is made from down or wool, both natural insulators. Many jackets have a fur trim on the hood, which helps protect the wearer from frostbite.
For some, this coat may be a fashion or status statement. For others, it may be a practical solution to keep warm in the wintertime. A school should not have a say in what someone wears to maintain body heat in the elements. This should be a personal choice.
Not all bullies have money.
Not all victims of bullies are poor.
The ban of a jacket is not a simple one size fits all solution. This ban isn’t fair to parents who invested money into buying a jacket for their child. Some parents may buy such an item in a blink of an eye but others save their money to buy quality items for their kids.
It also isn’t fair to punish a teenager in the form of a coat ban because there are some bad seeds. Woodchurch High School’s website says it is an inclusive school, saying “pupils are treated as individuals” but this ban seems to contradict that statement.
England is a democratic society, so the idea that kids in 2018 aren’t free to sport the outerwear of their choice is absurd.
Bullying is a serious issue but a bully will remain a bully, even without an upscale jacket. This goes beyond bullying. These kids need to be reached in a different way.
Being mean to others for a lack of designer jacket, is a symptom of a deeper issue, which a ban cannot solve. This a psychological issue.
In the frequently asked questions portion of the school’s website, Woodchurch High responds to the question of ‘do people get bullied or teased’ with the following: A lot of the stories you will have heard about coming to high school are not true, but sometimes people can be unkind. You must tell someone who will do their best to make it stop. Bullying is taking very seriously at Woodchurch. We believe all pupils have the right to be who they want to be without fear of prejudice.
The expensive jacket ban goes against the statement “all pupils have the right to be who they want to be.”
School-aged children should be able to wear the jacket they want. This ban isn’t properly tackling bullies, it is denying the majority of students a freedom of choice, which is a slippery slope that can only lead to confusion.