Shenfield High School students share protests on TikTok
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A wave of “TikTok protests” is spreading across the UK as hundreds of pupils rebel against new rules in their schools, such as only being able to use toilets at break times. Some children are posting videos on the social media platform and urging pupils at other schools to stage their own demonstrations.
In the past 48 hours, there have been clips uploaded from schools in Southampton, Blackpool and Essex.
Last week, there were protests in Cornwall, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, with millions of people watching them taking action against uniform and toilet policies.
In a clip which appears to be filmed at a protest at Shenfield High School in Essex exercise books on the floor are stamped on by children and overturned chairs in what appears to be a school hall.
It is not known what specifically led the children to protest.
Mail Online reports that 200 pupils protested at Weston Secondary School yesterday after being left “uncomfortable” by new unisex toilets.
The children said they had concerns about the same-sex toilets at the academy school ever since they were introduced in September.
One female pupil said “girl emergencies” mean they should be allowed to go to the toilet when needed instead of having to wait “up to two hours” for a break or lunchtime.
And a 14-year-old girl said: “We don’t think it’s fair, girls in our school are not comfortable.”
She added: “People think it’s funny to unlock the doors while you’re in there.
“We’re trying to tell the teachers that it’s just not fair.
“We’ve tried to talk to them before we did a protest but they’re just ignoring it.”
Footage of a planned protest at Unity Academy Blackpool was put on TikTok earlier this week but the school denied it was a “mass rebellion” over school rules.
The school’s headteacher, Stephen Cooke, says some pupils were keen to protest after seeing others on TikTok last week.
He added: “Student voice is important to the academy and in order to ensure all students had an opportunity to share concerns, form time was extended this morning by 10 minutes in order to offer the opportunity for students to share these concerns, which colleagues committed to responding to later on this week.”
He says many of the concerns relate to rules which have been in place at the school for many years.
Mr Cooke added: “Despite providing opportunities for this morning, a very small number of the school population (less than five percent) chose to take part in a protest by not going to class after the lunch break.
“The number of students reduced quickly and they were supervised by staff at all times.
“The ‘protest’ lasted for around 15 minutes before being brought to a calm conclusion by staff.”
The Department for Education says it is “concerned” by the spate of school protests.
A spokesman said: “We are concerned at the reports of disruption and will be in touch with all schools and local authorities to ensure they are supported at this time.
“We will always back headteachers to take the action required to maintain calm and supportive classroom environments as they are best placed to work with their teachers, parents, pupils and local communities when developing and implementing policies.”
Express.co.uk has approached Shenfield High School, Unity Academy Blackpool, and Weston Secondary School for comment.
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