School protests: The TikTok demonstrations over toilet rules explained
Pupils have been demonstrating across the country after new strict toilet rules were implemented.
School pupils have been demonstrating across the country in so-called “TikTok protests” after new strict toilet rules were implemented.
Demos which started last week in Cornwall, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, have now spread to Blackpool, Essex and Southampton.
Pupils have been inspired to take action after seeing similar protests across the country which have been shared on social media.
A child said tables had been flipped at his secondary school as “hundreds of students” demonstrated against the new restrictive toilet rules.
Read more: Police called to school as pupils ‘riot’ during toilet rule change protest
Why are the protests happening?
Pupils have vented their anger at new toilet policies implemented in schools across the country.
A protest broke out at Penrice Academy in St Austell, Cornwall, on Friday, as students demonstrated against a ban on going to the toilet during lessons.
The changes also included a “red card scheme” in which female students need a special card to go to the toilet during class when on their periods.
A father said the school had consulted with parents about the new rules and confirmed there had been “a lot of abuse of toilets” by students when out of lessons.
Penrice Academy previously defended the decision, saying it was intended to minimise class disruption.
Read more: Pupils 'inciting protest' at south Essex school after riots over toilets
A protest at Homewood School in Tenterden, Kent was said to be sparked by various issues – including toilets being closed during lessons, female teachers allegedly going into male changing rooms and the length of pupils' skirts being checked.
At Weston Secondary School, Southampton, pupils reported also put up a stand against rules preventing them from leaving lessons to go to the toilet and some also had worries about same-gender toilets after their introduction in September.
A female protestor at the school said "girl emergencies" caused by menstruation meant they should be allowed to go to the loo without having to wait "up to two hours" for a break or lunchtime.
Demos also took place at Farnley Academy, in Leeds, and several schools in Essex.
The protests came amid a nationwide movement reportedly organised on TikTok by schoolchildren
A video shared on the social media platform last week set out plans for the rally.
How many schools have seen protests?
Videos of protests in schools across Cornwall, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire went viral on Friday, revealing the extent of the anger felt by students.
Students in Essex also protested after finding their toilets locked by gates during lesson times.
On the same day, hundreds of students staged a mass protest outside The Farnley Academy in Leeds.
Pictures and video footage from Penrice Academy in St Austell, Cornwall, showed children climbing fences and chanting as they protested against the updated toilet rules.
A teenage pupil 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.
Parents added that some pupils were "throwing benches" and "breaking fences" as the planned protest spiralled out of control.
Police were called to Homewood School in Kent, on Monday after pupils staged a protest.
The school had sent a letter to parents on Friday when students at other schools protested, urging them to advise their children against taking part in such "totally unacceptable and dangerous" demos.