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School bans ‘expensive’ jackets due to ‘poverty shaming’ of students

A school in the United Kingdom has forbade students from wearing “expensive” jackets because doing so may “poverty shame” other students.

A letter sent by officials from Woodchurch High School in Merseyside informed parents that “pupils will not be permitted to bring in Canadian [sic] Goose and Monclair [sic] coats after the Christmas break.” Such garb can cost up to $900, according to Reason.

The Independent reports that according to headteacher Rebekah Phillips, parents had asked for the prohibition:

“We are very concerned about the fact that our children put a lot of pressure on parents to buy them expensive coats,” she said. Pupils were attending classes in coats that cost up to £700, she said, adding “a lot of parents at our school cannot afford that”.

Those pupils who did not have expensive outerwear were upset, she continued. “They feel stigmatised, they feel left out, they feel inadequate,” she said.

Phillips said some parents previously had had an issue with students’ “designer rucksacks.”

From the story:

“The support from parents/carers has been overwhelmingly positive and we are very thankful for this.

“Some have also asked whether Pyrenex coats, which are also in a similar price range (with some also having real fur) will also be prohibited.

“I am writing to confirm that these brands will also be prohibited after Christmas. Thank you for your ongoing support.”

The school’s decision received a mixed reaction on social media.

One man who said in Twitter post: “My son goes to Woodchurch High, he has been asking for one of these coats for (Christmas).

“Since the school announced this he has told us not too bother as he can’t wear it for school. Result for me.”

But other people thought the ban was unnecessarily restrictive. Another social media user Chris Garland asked: ”Why shouldn’t you be allowed to keep warm in something nice your parents have bought you.

“I highly doubt every kid with a nice coat bulls someone so if there’s a case of a group say targeting someone that’s a separate issue and should be resolved by the school.”

Almost half of Woodchurch’s student population is considered “poor.” A November 16 survey indicates over two-thirds of Britons support the school’s edict.

Reason’s Joe Setyon points out the situation isn’t entirely clear: Is the prohibition due to “just a case of some children feeling bad,” or are more affluent students “actively bullying” peers of lesser means?

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