Monday 30 November, 2020

12 Things schools tried to ban or outright banned in Barbados

Schools have guidelines and policies which must be followed.

However, sometimes the heads of the institutions decide that a new rule needs to be added or an old rule should be enforced due to new trends. Because let's face it, there are many rules on the rule book that go unenforced until someone in authority decides to dust them off.

Most recently it seems that a principal at a rural school in St. John wants to enforce the school policy that "male students are not permitted to wear facial hair".

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Well, this move has led to a discussion on Twitter with the 'adhere to the rules' tweeps being met with some great resistance from the 'why now' followers.

But this is not a first in school history. It's male facial hair today, but other things passed this same way as well, and on many occasions the bans surround hair.

Here are some things that Bajans remember principals trying to ban, or successfully banning:

1. Scarves

When there was the possibility of 'bloods' and 'crips' trends easing into Barbados, red and blue scarves or any scarf was to be left outside the school gates. Boys used to use scarves as handkerchiefs to wipe their faces throughout the day.

2. Platform shoes

At one St. James school a clique of girls on the first day of school were made to stand outside the principal's office in their Wild Pair 4-inch high heeled school shoes, and only two or three of the girls didn't get the memo to have backup flat school shoes in their bags. That's to say only those ignorant few felt the pinch of the shoe and were sent home. 

3. Hightops or afros

Guys with kinkier textures used to pat the length out of their hair compressing the strands to an "acceptable shortness". Despite their best efforts with cards or books, some teachers and principals still wanted their hair to be shorter and started measuring the heights of afros and giving restrictions. All the while looser curl patterns were blowing in the wind and covering eyes, ears and collars.

4. Puffs

At one primary school in St. Michael and a few kindergartens, principals refuse to let little girls wear their hair in puffs. Children with kinkier textures have to wear plaits and cornrows always.

5. Pretty coloured sneakers

Sometime along the line, someone decided that white sneakers are the only appropriate colour for Physical Education kicks. For this reason, students started getting warning letters or verbal warnings for wearing anything besides all-white sneakers.

6. Ankle socks

An infamous, now retired principal at a St. Michael-located secondary school was known to have a drawer filled with socks that she took from school girls. When girls used to try to pull their long socks down and fold a quarter yard of material two or three times under the soles of their feet to shorten their socks, this principal used to let them know they clearly don't need the socks. She did not accept the short ankle socks either. Students needed to have socks that could get them one good visible fold. 

7. Long nails

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Some teachers made it their business to police students' nails, especially the nails of male students. There was a time when guys were growing their thumbnails but that was nipped in the bud quickly by some principals, year heads and teachers.

8. Grass 'earrings'

Boys and girls are students five days a week, and free two days a week, and for some, it is two different lives. Therefore guys who had their ears pierced for their weekend flossing used to put a small piece of grass in their lobe piercings to keep the holes open until this got under the skin of teachers and principals.

9. Games

It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt or disrupts the class. Charlie Charlie got banned in many schools in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean a few years ago. Teachers also ban students using and making paper flappers especially if they do it during class time. Decades ago it used the be paper planes.

10. Corncurls

A few teachers in the hope of increasing healthy lifestyles have banned certain cheesy snacks from their classrooms. They even have fruit and water days when no other snacks are tolerated.

11. Boys with hair plaits

There was a time when boys could not wear their hair to school in cornrows or twists or single plaits. They could only have long hair at school if it were dread locs and it was their religion. They still had to wear a tam to cover their locs though. But nowadays at some schools especially primary schools, you can see little boys with visible cornrows. 

12. Weaves or braids

Schools started banning extensions. They were cracking down on students trying to wear weaves or braids to school. Then at some schools, the principals slackened the reins. And to be honest, some hairdressers and parents have gotten so creative that noticing the use of fake hair or added hair is not as easily recognisable as before. But this is also a policy that is hard and fast at some schools and not at others.

Today it's facial hair, in yesteryear, it was these things, what's next?

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