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8 Strict School Policies That Went Too Far

Some rules are made to be broken...because they don't make any sense.

Korean High school classroomDONGSEON KIM/Shutterstock

What were they thinking?

Without order, there would be chaos. That’s especially true when it comes to kids in school settings. But sometimes, schools take that maxim too far—way too far. While administrators usually craft school policies with the best of intentions, some of those policies end up being pretty head-scratching and can have unintended and even harmful consequences. From policing toilet paper to outlawing high fives, these over-the-top school rules evoked outrage around the world—and for good reason. How else is school different from when you a kid? For starters, here are 9 school subjects you took that children today won’t.

rolls of toilet paperRoman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock

Policing toilet paper

Conservation is a good thing, but even good things can go too far. Take the case of Kitchener Road Primary School in Cardiff, Wales. To prevent waste and toilet clogs, the school placed the toilet paper outside the stalls and forced students to estimate how much they needed before going to the bathroom. For one poor young student, the pressure of this overreaching rule was too much. The 4-year-old was so afraid she’d underestimate the necessary amount of toilet paper that she stopped relieving herself properly. She subsequently landed in the hospital and had to have surgery for blockage. Needless to say, the school has since apologized, and students are now free to use all the toilet paper they need without performing the calculations in advance. Even though this wasn’t one of those times, teachers often do know best. Here are 40 things your child’s teacher wants you to know.

Handcuffs with signs of usage on blue backgroundMark_D/Shutterstock

Arresting small children

Most schools have strict rules regarding physical altercations and for good reason. However, when a school resource officer in Orlando, Florida, arrested two young children, including a 6-year-old who kicked another student, the community was understandably outraged. According to the child’s mother, the girl had behavioral problems caused by sleep apnea. The police chief apologized, the officer was fired, and charges against the 6-year-old were dropped. Check out these weird laws you probably break all the time.

Two lollipops. Red hearts. Candy. Love concept. Valentine day.YuriyZhuravov/Shutterstock

Banning young love

Puppy love is a heartwarming thing, but apparently, it wasn’t appreciated by administrators at an elementary school in Indiana. The school sent a note home with fifth-grade students informing parents that they were implementing a “zero dating” policy in an attempt to “lessen the amount of broken hearts.” Furthermore, the letter mandated that any students who were dating needed to end their relationships. After receiving complaints that this should be a parental decision, the school reversed the decree and said it would no longer encourage or enforce students to end their relationships. Sometimes love triumphs after all. Check out this story of a woman who met her first love at 10 years old—and still thinks about him more than 50 years later.

Wooden people giving high five on color background. Unity conceptNew Africa/Shutterstock

No high fives

Military schools are notoriously strict, but perhaps none are more so than the case of an elementary school for military kids in Bahrain. The school banned all contact between students. This didn’t just include typical restrictions against fighting or roughhousing—it also prohibited hugging, high fives, and even the game of tag. In response to parental complaints, the school announced that the rule would only be temporary and was an attempt to teach students about the concept of personal space. Where did the high five come from anyway? We’ve got the answer!

Starting point in a pool for championshipsaquariagirl1970/Shutterstock

Discrimination against body type

A swim meet in Alaska made national headlines after one high school athlete was disqualified. The student wore her official team-issued swimsuit to compete in four different events but was disqualified from only one. Why? Because the referee felt the swimsuit showed too much skin—on her backside, specifically. There was an immediate outcry. People called out the referee for discriminating against different body types, as well as for sexualizing the young female athlete’s body. The girl’s mother also called it sexual harassment. In the end, the disqualification was overturned, the referee was decertified, and the school district released a statement that said they wouldn’t “tolerate discrimination of any kind, and certainly not based on body shape.”

Perfumery, spa and branding concept - Pink perfume bottle on glossy background, sweet floral scent, glamour fragrance and eau de parfum as holiday gift and luxury beauty cosmetics brand designAnne Leven/Shutterstock

Charged with a misdemeanor for wearing too much perfume

Being around someone wearing too much perfume is annoying, but most of the time, offenders aren’t charged with a crime. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for a middle-schooler from Austin, Texas, who was charged with a misdemeanor for spraying herself with too much perfume in class. The case attracted international attention and was one of many that helped prompt the Texas State Legislature to change the law so that students could no longer be criminally charged for minor offenses. While it’s certainly not a crime, these are the spots you should never apply perfume.

Fallen chocolate ice-cream in cream cone fall to the groundMIA Studio/Shutterstock

Arrested for a food fight

Chicago is known as the Windy City, but perhaps it should be known as the Food Fight City. In Chicago, 25 students between the ages of 11 and 15 were arrested after having a food fight in the cafeteria. Although no one disputed that food fights are against the rules and punishment was justified, many parents felt that having the children arrested went too far since having a criminal record can have an impact on a child’s future.

Best friends teddy bear and bunny plush toy sitting on wooden rocking horse or bench indoors hugging each other, back view with copy space. Love, family, childhood and friendship concept.ingae/Shutterstock

No best friends allowed

At Thomas’s School in Battersea, London, being royalty doesn’t get you any special privileges. That’s true for their most famous pupil, Prince George. One of the most controversial rules at the school prohibits students like Prince George from having a best friend. Although the rule is well-intentioned and designed to protect students from feeling hurt or left out, many parents and educators have gone on record saying they feel bans on best friendships deprive children of normal, healthy experiences. Outside of school, these are the other rules royal children need to follow.

Tamara Gane
Tamara Gane is a regular contributor to Reader's Digest covering travel, lifestyle, history, and culture. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, NPR, Al Jazeera, Wine Enthusiast, Lonely Planet, HuffPost Food, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @TamaraGane