independent

Friday 18 April 2014

We don't need no style control – pupils want new rules

Students from the ‘What Rules Rule You’ event at Youth Work Ireland’s office in Dublin. Marc O’Sullivan

Young people have demanded that they be allowed express themselves at school through their clothing, hairstyles, earrings and other accessories.

More than 60 post-primary school students from across the country travelled to Dublin to tell educators that they want a bigger say in their appearance, and on how schools tackle issues like bullying.

The 'What Rules Rule You' event, organised by children's advocacy group Voices of Youth, consisted of a number of workshops where students could examine the school environment and raise concerns over issues they face at second level, and the rules that govern them.

Co-chair of the event Joanna Siewerska (17), who attends Mary's Holy Faith secondary school in Killester, Dublin, claimed that young people "can't express themselves in schools properly".

She said that students were often punished over failing to adhere to strict uniform regulations, including custom haircuts and piercings, and had clothing items confiscated.

Joanna called on management at schools nationwide to "move with the times" and "facilitate the needs and desires of young people".

She said: "The way that rules are written, they're for us, but we're not consulted in the making (of them)."

Joanna said the key to addressing disagreements was communication.

Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals Clive Byrne said communication between management and a "vibrant" students council was important, where students are elected democratically to provide a voice for the student body.

Irish Independent

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