Cornwall: Penrice Academy pupils 'flip tables and climb fences' in protest over new toilet rules
Pupils at a school in Cornwall have flipped tables in protest against new rules over going to the toilet.
The demonstration took place at Penrice Academy in St Austell, Cornwall, on Friday, as "hundreds of students" rallied against a new rule banning students from going to the bathroom during lessons.
Additionally, the new rules are said to include a "red card scheme" which requires girls to have a special card to go to the loo during class while on their periods.
One student at the academy told the PA news agency he was not involved but witnessed the demonstration by scores of pupils.
"A bunch of students were protesting about the new toilet rules that were put in place at my school," he said.
"It was originally meant to be a peaceful protest but it escalated relatively fast.
"People started like flipping tables and climbing fences."
He added that "something like" a bin was thrown through a window during the demonstrations.
The teenager estimated around 300 students took part, adding that "quite a number of them" were suspended immediately and sent home.
He said he heard about one injury in which a student fell off a fence while trying to climb it.
The protest followed the implementation of new rules on Friday that mean students can only go to the toilet during break times.
"So we can only really go twice in a day," the student added.
He thought the new rules "make sense" and could be to do with the fact that toilets at Penrice Academy have been getting vandalised.
His father told PA the school had consulted with parents about the new rules, and confirmed there has been "a lot of abuse of toilets" by students.
He added: "My son said when he came back from school earlier on, I think a lot of the students had seen a news report the day before where some girls [at another school] had had their skirts measured, the length of skirts, by a male teacher, apparently.
"They saw this as a protest and decided to do something at the school, and obviously the new toilet rule came in today and it was based on that, I think."
He said he was less concerned about the new rules than some of the parents of female students who may object to the "red card scheme".
Teachers' strikes: When are the walkouts?
Penrice Academy sent an email to parents on Friday afternoon explaining that some students had protested "due to a social media post yesterday evening".
The school told parents and carers: "Our students have the right to express their opinions in a calm and safe manner, however a small number of students' behaviour was unacceptable.
"A number of parents have already been contacted to collect their children.
"For the majority of our students, lessons and lunch time will continue as normal. If you have not been contacted, there is no need to collect your child.
"We hope to engage with them to find a solution that works for everyone as soon as possible. The safety and wellbeing of our students is always our priority."
Penrice Academy has been contacted for comment.