Students at schools across England rallied against strict new rules that stopped them from using the toilet during lesson time today.
Secondaries in Cornwall, Essex, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire were all reported to have seen angry pupils rioting against measures by shaking fences, flipping desks, kicking doors, or standing on playing fields – refusing to go into class.
In some cases the police were called in, although it is understood that no criminal action has been taken by a force in relation.
Schools went as far as putting locked gates in front of toilets during class although it is not clear why the action was undertaken simultaneously at apparently unconnected secondaries.
An Essex headteacher said: “Pupils are able to access all toilets before school, break times, and after school. If a pupil requires access to the toilet during lesson time, they request a pass from their teacher and are allowed access.”
Students spoke up about the policy being an infringement of “human rights” and parents were supportive of their stand.
Richmond School in North Yorkshire has reportedly been locked down with some students letting off fire extinguishers and kicking down doors. Local reports suggest a tree was set on fire. The Northern Echo said teachers were pushed over and windows were smashed.
North Yorkshire Police said: “Police were contacted at 9.40am to reports of criminal damage taking place at Richmond School.
“Local neighbourhood officers who were in the area attended, along with local police community support officers to provide reassurance.
“They established no criminal activity had taken place and the matter has been left with the school to deal with.”
Riots in Penrice Academy, St Austell, Cornwall, also saw tables being flipped after a protest kicked off that had reportedly been organised the night before on Facebook.
A witness told Cornwall Live: “Just to let you know that my daughter has just called me to say the protest has got out of hand and students are flipping tables.
“The children are now not allowed out for break.”
The Farnley Academy in Leeds has seen students standing outside classrooms and refusing to go in.
Leeds Live said “disgusted” parents are backing the protests and say the policy is “taking away their human rights”.
Local media have reported that the riots have reached Essex with Bromfords School in Wickford and Castle View School on Canvey involved.
“Students were setting off fire alarms and running amok at the school in protest of locked toilets, lack of school lunches and staffing issues,” a Bromfords parent told the Canvey Echo.