Dear Parent(s)/ Carer(s),
Re: Tik Tok Toilet/ Uniform protests
You may be aware that pupils across the country are being encouraged to hold ‘toilet and/or uniform protests’ at school.
Yesterday, a group of pupils organised and planned one of these protests at our school. Some of the pupils involved expected the protest to be legitimate and peaceful, but unfortunately, others had no intention of this and were instead, intent on engaging in serious anti-social behaviour and causing as much disruption to the learning of others as possible.
Very quickly, many of the pupils involved at the start went back to class, as they realised that others were only interested in causing trouble.
The remaining pupils engaged in anti-social behaviour on the school site, including repeatedly setting off the fire alarm, causing the whole school to evacuate the building several times during the morning. They did not listen to staff instructions, entered the building during the fire drill and engaged in anti-social behaviour on our school site.
Such behaviour is wholly unacceptable. We view the deliberate setting off of the fire alarm as being an extremely serious act. The person/persons deliberately setting off the fire alarms in these circumstances may have committed a criminal act and such behaviour cannot be tolerated.
We are undertaking a full investigation to identify the persons responsible. An initial investigation has resulted in 34 pupils being excluded for a fixed period of time, pending further investigation. It may well be that after more detailed investigations, longer exclusions or even permanent exclusions will be issued.
We are firmly of the view that the kind of behaviour exhibited by a small minority of pupils yesterday, significantly undermines the learning experience of the vast majority of our pupils. We understand that intimidatory tactics, may have been used by the ringleaders to encourage other reluctant pupils to participate. We again view such behaviour as being extremely serious and cannot be tolerated.
We are also disappointed at some of the social media posts within our community, including posts by some of the parents of those involved, which have glorified and praised this appalling behaviour.
In contrast, we were extremely proud of the way in which the majority of our pupils conducted themselves and the dim view that they took of the behaviour of the few involved. We were also very proud and grateful for the support of our staff, who worked effectively as a team. By the same token, we are grateful for the supportive social media messages from the majority of our parents and carers, who do not support the wilful disruption of learning.
In terms of our initial investigation into the ‘toilet protest’, some criticisms were raised of the toilet facilities at our school. For clarity, we have new toilets which are open all day, including during lessons. These are open plan, have designated boys and girls toilets and have floor to ceiling doors. They are brand new, modern and clean, with excellent hand-washing facilities. Additional toilets are available during break and lunchtime.
We are therefore of the view that such criticism of the toilet facilities is entirely without foundation and it may be the case that some pupils have misled their parents/carers as to the nature of and access to these facilities. Photographs of these toilets will be posted on our school website today, for the benefit of all members of our school community (please see below – end of page)
Mountain Ash Comprehensive School has an active Student Council through which any concerns that pupils may have, can be raised and discussed in an appropriate and democratic manner. We would encourage pupils to use our Student Council as the appropriate vehicle for raising any legitimate issues or concerns.
Finally, I would be grateful for your further support as parents/ carers and ask that you discuss the issues above with your child/children and, in particular, warn them against being manipulated by Tik Tok trends, which are an increasing problem for schools across the UK at present.
S J Evans