When you have kids from different cultures, home situations, parenting styles, and religions all crammed together for 6-8 hours a day, somebody’s going to be offended, and probably also hurt, and bullied, and maybe pregnant. It seems that schools try to combat this by banning things in an effort to keep some semblance of order. What does and does not get banned can get a little weird and is sometimes not well thought out, so here are 25 Most Ridiculous Things You Won’t Believe Are Banned In Schools.
An elementary school in Menifee, Califnornia temporarily banned dictionaries (to be fair, Webster's Collegiate Dictionary) because a parent took issue with "explicit language." The dictionary was removed from a class with students at advanced reading levels, until no parents attended a board meeting to share concerns of, y'know, a dictionary. That parent had a really hard time when they realized their child could already read independently.
Shirts that say or depict "evolution." Yeah. Smith Cotton HS in Missouri's marching band designed a tee shirt that said "Evolution of Brass" and a graphic illustrating it. Some parents - parents - threw a hissy fit, claiming that it supported Darwinsim and had to be banned. The school completely rolled over and capitulated to the adult tantrum, buying all $700 of shirts from the band to keep them out of the school. Gotta wonder what the science textbooks looked like there.
The words "Mom" and "Dad" were officially taken off of California school documentation and take home communication in 2007 so that same-sex couples and transgender persons wouldn't be offended. Apparently, the phrase, "Show your Mom and Dad," is offensive enough there need be a law. It's not so much that the words "parent or guardian" was used in place but that people were offended enough by the gloriously benign phrase "mom and dad" that there was a law made to *forbid* them.
Some UK schools have banned teachers from using red ink to mark students incorrect answers because it is considered too upsetting for students; red is considered to be a "very negative color." The teachers now use emotionally neutral black or blue ink, and are "encouraged" to write several positive comments about *every* piece of work turned in. It's going to be fun when these kids leave school and have a boss...
In 2009, the word "MEEP" (yes, like Beaker, from The Muppets) was banned in a Massachusetts High School. Apparently, entire classrooms were breaking out in cacophonous "Meeping," so the principle threatened to suspend any child caught saying MEEP.
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Games. Elementary schools in several states are banning competitive games - tag, flag football and soccer - because they're too dangerous. Dodgeball has already suffered the same fate.
Back in 2005, students at Pope John XXIII Regional High School were officially banned from having MySpace or Xanga pages - not from looking at them at school, but from having them at all - in order to protect students from online predators. I guess "How to protect yourself from predators online" as a pamphlet or class just wasn't frustrating enough.
Chicago area school districts allow each individual principal to handle the issue of homemade lunches, so the principal of Chicago's Little Village Academy just banned them in 2011. Students all have to eat the school cafeteria lunch, unless they have a medical exemption. Poor kids.
School districts in three different states in the US have banned Flaming Hot Cheetos, basically because kids are gorging themselves on the junk food. The districts claim that Flaming Hot Cheetos should be snacked on at home because they have poor nutritional value and sometimes are eaten in place of a proper lunch.
If you think this is crazy, wait until you see number 9!
Halloween was banned by a Pennsylvania school in 2013 because some parents considered it to have religious overtones, even so far as refusing to send their children to school on 10/31 because they didn't want them to participate. Probably the same parents that complain when Starbucks doesn't have a Christmas tree on their holiday cup.
Skinny Jeans were banned in 2009 by a School in TX for being...disruptive of learning. To drive this point home, the school also banned striped & checked shirts. Some parents responded to a dress code in the most reasonable way possible: they pulled their children out of school and home schooled them instead.
If you’re enjoying this list, be sure to check out 25 Strange Things Banned Around The World.
Best Friends. Thomas's Private Day School in London spoke strongly against having best friends for children ages 4-10 because these friendships are seen as "too obsessive" and "unhealthy." Best friends were also banned because, "These obsessive friendships can be very hurtful for those who are left out of them, and ostracizing is as painful as physical bullying." Having a best friend is like bulling all the people who want to be your BFF but aren't, just like telling kids they can't do something because they're too obsessed by it ALWAYS means they stop doing it. It's really the phrase "BEST Friend" that makes the relationship anyway. If you ban that phrase, the relationships will completely change.
This is one that most people are aware of but, uh...books. Books with dangerous ideas are banned with disturbing regularity in public schools. What kind of books? Well truly dangerous ones, like "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" due to racial stereotypes. (It was written in the 1870's. Slavery was a thing), Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451 (Irony), Harry Potter (any of them) and finally, The Adventures of Captain Underpants (because it encourages bad spelling). The backlash is that now Banned Book Week exists and celebrates those books which have been banned or fought in the past.
Father's Day Cards were banned in a Scottish primary school so that children of single mothers and lesbians wouldn't feel left out or upset. No word on how the children being raised by single fathers or two fathers feel about this, or if anyone stopped being offended long enough to consider their feelings, or the feelings of said fathers.
Pokemon cards have been banned at some schools, in particular because two students got in a fight and card trading was taking over recess. Again, the best way to make a child do something is to forbid it.
Remember those games that were banned because they were too dangerous? Playing alone and doing fun things that could possibly get your body moving are also dangerous, it seems, which is why one Australian school has banned cartwheels and handstands.
School Bake Sales were banned by NYC in 2009, for much the same reasons as big gulps were banned for the general populace in NYC - too many fat people. The NYC Education Department wanted to strictly control how much sugar and fat students consumed while under their care, so bake sales were out.
Braids and Bows. No, really, a British school has a dress code that requires all bows to be dark blue or black to match uniforms and braids or beads now be worn. So they banned a sweet little FOUR YEAR OLD from her school picture because her dad made her a Lady Gaga style hairbow. The entire POINT of school pictures is to look back at your hair and laugh!
A school in Kansas banned kids from wearing hoodies because they were using the front pockets to hide their cell phones and text without looking at the keyboard. They didn't ban all clothing with pockets, just hoodies. No word on why cell phones weren't banned.
Valedictorians. One school in North Carolina voted to ban the practice of having Valedictorians because it encouraged unhealthy competition, and students were taking classes to increase their GPA instead of what interested them. While noble in thought, honestly, this is a parenting issue. Being Valedictorian is cool, but you know what else is cool? Being your own person, doing what you want, not peaking in high school, and learning the invaluable lesson that you can do everything right and still lose (so you should probably have just enjoyed yourself).
If you're over the age of 30 or so, you may have fond memories of snowball fights in the schoolyard or on the playground. Well, no more. Schools are starting to ban snowball fights because there might be an injury or hurt feelings. Or you know...fun.
Toys that have plastic guns. Not plastic guns themselves, but even toys with them. It's not just that we don't want kids pretending to shoot one another; we want to make school a place where we can pretend that guns don't exist. This is why a 9-year-old boy who wore a hat decorated with an American flag and Army men and an 8-year-old boy who had a lego police officer both got in trouble. Army men and Lego police officers. Glad you're keeping the kids safe from those particular dangers, rather than, you know, teaching them perspective and context.
Bathroom stall doors. In 2012, a High School in Texas removed the doors on their bathroom stalls, claiming it was for student safety. However, students say it was really to prevent students from participating in "certain activities" in the bathroom. Because if you're willing to do "certain activities" in a public school bathroom, the lack of a door is what's gonna stop you.
In 2012, a boy at Palo Alto's Jordan Middle School who carried the Cystic Fibrosis gene but did not have the disease was forced to change schools. The school claimed it was in order to protect students who DID have the disease at the school. People with Cystic Fibrosis can carry a bacteria that is dangerous to others with the disease. However, the boy in question did NOT have cystic fibrosis, just the gene mutation for it. The school still kicked him out without ever seeing a medical record. For some fun perspective, about 1 out of every 25 people carry the gene.
Self Defense. In most public schools in the US, a "zero tolerance" policy for bullying and violence means that the bully and the bullied both get punished equally if the victim eventually defends themselves. According to this rule, the student is apparently just supposed to take the beating until a faculty member can be found to negotiate with the bully to stop. Of course that's not the intent of the policy, but that's the result. Good job, guys.
Want to know more about the truth behind bullying? Check out 25 Disturbing Facts About Bullying You Probably Didn’t Know.
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