Daily Mail

More pupils in school ‘riots’ fuelled by online videos

- By Elly Blake

HUNDREDS of pupils have staged protests in schools as unrest inspired by a social media trend spreads.

The youngsters are rebelling against issues such as uniform rules and unisex toilets.

Children in Southampto­n, Blackpool and Essex have staged demonstrat­ions this week, with images posted on video hosting platform TikTok.

It follows protests last week at schools in Cornwall, Lincolnshi­re and Yorkshire that also saw images circulated online.

The demonstrat­ions appear to be arranged over TikTok and other apps popular with youngsters, such as Snapchat, with some clips attracting millions of views online – sparking fears of copycat action spreading across the country.

Footage of a protest at Shenfield High School in Essex yesterday showed exercise books being trampled on the floor and chairs overturned in a school hall.

It is not known what sparked the incident.

In Southampto­n, 200 pupils at Weston Secondary School protested on Monday over new unisex toilets.

‘Can’t leave class to go to toilet’

Chanting ‘toilet rights’, they also demonstrat­ed against rules preventing them from leaving lessons to go to the lavatory.

One girl said ‘girl emergencie­s’ mean they should be allowed to use the toilet without having to wait ‘up to two hours’ for a break or lunchtime.

Parent Nicole Tipton said her daughter Chloe felt so uneasy about sharing a lavatory with boys, some of whom tried to use their phones to photograph the girls, that she has stopped going to the toilet during school hours. Chloe, 14, said: ‘We don’t think it’s fair, girls in our school are not comfortabl­e.

‘People think it’s funny to unlock the doors while you’re in there. We’re trying to tell the teachers that it’s just not fair.

‘We’ve tried to talk to them before we did a protest but they’re just ignoring it.’

Another pupil added: ‘You’re also not allowed to leave lessons to go to the toilet, which isn’t fair on girls who are menstruati­ng.’

unity Academy in Blackpool denied claims of a riot after students staged a ‘mass rebellion’ over basic school rules yesterday.

Headteache­r Stephen Cooke said he became aware of the ‘TikTok protest’ trend last week.

After demonstrat­ions at other schools on Friday, some children were keen to protest, he said. Most concerns related to rules that had been in place for many years. ‘A very small number of the school population, less than 5 per cent, chose to take part in a protest by not going to class after the lunch break,’ he said.

The Department for Education said: ‘We are concerned at the reports of disruption and will be in touch with all schools and local authoritie­s to ensure they are supported.’

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 ?? ?? Social media rebels: Pupils in Essex yesterday, left, and in Cornwall last week
Social media rebels: Pupils in Essex yesterday, left, and in Cornwall last week

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