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School Punishes Rich Kids in Effort to Prevent ‘Poverty Shaming’

We all know that kids can be very mean and will tease one another in an effort to exert control and bully.

Although this is unacceptable and it should not be tolerated, what happens when a school takes measures to end bullying by punishing kids for having money?

That’s right. To ensure that kids who live in poverty won’t be bullied for not having nice clothes, one high school steps up and sets a rule that no other kid in the school can wear expensive clothes, namely expensive jackets.

This is their answer to controlling any bullying or ‘poverty shaming’ that is directed towards poor kids.

Beginning as early as next year, Woodchurch High School in Birkenhead, UK will not be allowed to wear super pricey brand name coats, in particular.

They feel that this will not only help end the shaming of kids who can’t afford such expensive pieces of clothing, but it will also help ease the financial burden of parents who feel they are struggling to keep their kids in the nicest clothes.

This is so ridiculous that it isn’t even funny, to be honest! There are a million reasons why this is foolish, but for the sake of time, here’s just a few;

  • A school shouldn’t have the right to tell parents what they can and can’t buy for their kids. The moment a school fails to implement a unified dress code but instead singles out kids with money, they run the risk of discrimination, despite their best efforts.
  • Dictating a wardrobe based on cost isn’t truly addressing the issue of bullying. If kids are being bullied at a school, telling other kids to ‘dress down’ so that they can all be on equal footing is insulting. The moment the school implements this rule, poor kids are really going to get the raw end of the deal from kids who feel they can’t wear certain things just because of a specific group.
  • The message that this sends to all kids contributes to a further divide that will not help in bridging the gap of communication about the real issue here. This is a great opportunity for the school to step up and address the issue of bullying. Not just sit back and implement a rule that says you can’t wear expensive clothes to school.

Surprisingly, the parents actually believe that this is a great idea. They feel that this will assist in controlling the bullying that exists and it will help the kids to get along better. Are they all crazy!?

When the school’s spokesperson was asked about the decision to eliminate the wearing of expensive gear, she said, “We are concerned with poverty proofing in school, where issues can routinely, if unintentionally, stigmatize children living in poverty and contribute to the increasing cost of the school day to parents.”

When this announcement became public, parents went to social media and applauded this decision, agreeing that the high-end fashion was indeed causing the bullying in schools. How much do you want to bet that those parents who find expensive clothes to be the cause of bullying were the parents of the poor kids!

In the end, school bullying is something that goes deeper than what a child wears, how they look, and how much money they have. It goes into the psyche of the bully and their home life. Typically, when a child bullies another child, it is because there is something going on with the child who does the bullying.

The school should focus on what that might be…not focus on what the child is wearing. It’s such a cop-out to simply blame clothing for the deep issues that children face in school. Too bad the parents can’t see this. If they could, maybe they would step up and contribute to a solution that would actually work.

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About Audra L.

Audra L. is an author, columnist and community activist who's dedicated to finding truth through research and effective communication. She received her degree in Public Policy and teaches Community Development, Public Speaking and Communications Law to youth throughout the nation. She is the recipient of over 23 awards and honors for her commitment to community outreach initiatives.

11 comments

  1. I think it is a great idea and I think all schools should adopt a dress code or uniforms

  2. The school is not saying parents cannot buy them, they are stipulating that these expensive clothes cannot be worn at school. Its a great idea and even better would be to have all kids wear the same thing. Yes a uniform.

  3. Assinine!!
    Kids are sometimes mean and two days later they’re talking to the kid they bullied. Stupid idea!

  4. It sure made a huge difference in my daughter’s KG – 12th grade schools. I really resented it at first: I had bought my daughter SO many adorable outfits. It took me a couple of years to understand why the policy was actually a good thing, in several different ways. The kids wore “sort of” uniforms: blue skirts or pants + white blouses or shirts. You could gussy up the blouses with lace and ribbons; the boys could wear top quality + silk ties. Anyway, I finally “got” the point and — although I am still disappointed that my daughter couldn’t wear the precious and somewhat expensive dresses I’d bought for her, I do think that the plan is a compassionate one.

  5. While I agree this is not a perfect way of promoting anti-bullying the statement of “putting people on equal footing” reminds me of a more damaging method of promoting bullying is that of “equality” in achievement. Giving everyone awards regardless of effort does more damage to those who make an effort to do ”their best” and glean rewards then anything’s and yes, promotes bullying. It does NOT teach a child to be an active community member. It breeds more welfare families, more government control and while it seems good for the moment, government control can be removed at any moment and leaves a trail of devastation by:
    1. Eliminating social services due to a lack of funds for the truly needing of those services.
    2. Abuse of that system by those who have been “taught” that everything is “owed” to them. An entitled mentality.
    3. Lack of self sufficiency due to being “taught” they do not need to work to receive.
    4. Community shunning when someone has been selfishly “taught” (selfish in the idea of laziness in teaching) nothing about personal responsibility
    5. Becoming a victim at every turn over things easily taken care of with proper training (sue happy society).
    6. Lack of understanding the difference between good pride and bad pride.
    7. Lack of identity and purpose.
    And the list grows daily. So while this is a topic of importance, I believe the topic of “teaching” good habits, responsibility, goodness towards others, kindness, grace mercy, and the importance of contributing to society is more valid in nature.
    Since this acceptance of “everyone gets an award” bullying has increased, suicides have increased, the number of genders are attempting to increase by 70 new genders, and we ALL should understand that school shooting have greatly increased. Children need purpose and if everyone’s purpose is simply existing these things will continue to increase. Purpose is the reason for existence. Find your purpose!!!! You were created and given everything you need to be purposeful. There is incredible joy in knowing and succeeding in your purpose!!!! Parents, your children are not you. Help them discover and develop their purpose in life with verbal and emotional support. Children, the process of figuring out how, when, where, who and what are YOUR responsibility, NOT your parents. They can guide you, not give the answer or it will not be 100% you!!! So if you expect to be handed everyone life you’ll never gain the respect of your family or peers. Worst of all, you’ll never know and appreciate the real you.

  6. Hi Audra,
    I feel you. However, you forgot to take into account that cultures differ. The way the British think differ in several ways to the way Americans think.I am happy they took a decision that works for them, and they are happy with it.
    I suggest one follows up in 6 months, 12 months and see whether or not this action worked.

    Yes, a bully might require further help and counseling might be needed. I want to believe that the school has other activities/ ways to discourage and end bullying in the school.

  7. It is wiser just to put them in uniforms, so they can be recognized for their performance, rather than what they wear.

  8. Sounds contradicting to say it’s always a deeper issue within the home of the said bullies. If the school is finding that a large portion of the bullies happen to be the kids who come from wealthier families than they have already investigated and planned and thought it out accordingly. Bullies don’t come from bad environments all the time so please stop shaming parents. Having wealth does create people who aren’t the most well rounded and aren’t the most kind to those that have less. Maybe not always true in every case. However, I agree that banning expensive clothes is not the solution. Why not just implement dress code of specific uniforms and coats. Kids in uniform are still going to bully if it’s soemthing that gives them pleasure. I stand by my claim that it’s not always an issue at home.

  9. My grandchildren wear uniforms in their schools and their parents love it and the kids seem to be OK with it as well. Uniforms use is easier, cost efficient, less distracting, and more esthetically pleasing to the eye.

    Kids have plenty of time to experiment with dress and appearance away from school.

  10. children are not trophies to be adorned as a show of elitism- it’s called a uniform and all kids should have to wear one so they understand that until they are adults they are subject to strict rules.They are the same, in school to learn. Freedom of expression is not theirs to flaunt. Teach them guidelines and respect for the rules-before society is forced to do so when the luvvies start their lives of crime. Ever make the connection between placatory parenting and out of control thug children?

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