A “TikTok riot” caused a school to abandon plans for “gender neutral” PE supplies and skirt bans. On Friday, in Banbury, Oxfordshire, police broke up a “disturbance” at Warriner School. After students defied the regulations, the school closed. The school rescinded its gender-neutral uniform policy.
Warriner stated there would be no modifications without “additional engagement with the whole school community” because it was “concerned about any further interruption to the school and kids being able to continue their education.”
Dr. Annabelle Kay, the executive headteacher, apologized for “further consultation with the whole school community’ and” not entirely engaging or consulting with all parents and pupils on the school website.
One student protests on school grounds wearing a skirt over their trousers. Warriner School stated on its website that “there will be no change to the uniform policy without further consultation.”
Banbury’s co-ed Warriner School has 1,500 11–18-year-olds. He added: “We fully respect students’ right to protest, and we want young people’s voices to be heard safely and constructively.”
“Our aim was, and remains, to be inclusive, to support and empower all our students equally and respectfully.”
“We have listened to our students and are committed to further engaging parents and students constructively and positively regarding our uniform policy and other future policy changes.”
Once staff sent a letter home to parents requiring all students to “wear black fitted trousers” and a “gender neutral physical education kit” in September, the dispute erupted.
All students must wear knee-length black shorts from September, and skirts are outlawed. Assistant headteacher Lottie Keyes wrote that the decision was to “promote and further support inclusion and empower our students with our values of equality and respect.”
“This was a decision made because, unfortunately, there is still a challenge for many of our female students to wear their skirts to the appropriate length we want,” it said.
“Students who roll skirts to inappropriate lengths send the wrong social message about their preferred style – they feel they need to conform to a specific image to fit in with the friendship group.”
“We feel it has no place in an educational environment, so we are introducing trousers for all students.”
But, outraged students and hundreds of parents protested the new rules. Social media videos show students demonstrating in skirts.
A student blamed Friday’s ruckus on “rather than a riot, causing more damage to school premises and property.”
One parent stated their autistic child was seriously “shaken” and had to “barricade themselves inside their classroom” with other students to avoid the protest.
The mother stated the letter “upset” the kids and that the school’s leadership “should have done it better.”
“Protests were not the correct way to handle it; they got out of hand,” he said. Unnamed Warriner School students informed the Banbury Guardian: “I don’t agree with the new uniform rules because why can boys wear shorts if girls don’t wear skirts?”
Parents were outraged that the uniform modification would penalize minority girls. They also claim that alterations are an expense that parents should not “impose” on them during a life crisis.
Students asked MailOnline how to reproduce the demonstration at their school on TikTok. One mum, Jenny, said: “The children have sorted it out on their own with no parental influence, teachers are supervising them, and the police are now on the scene.”
“As a parent, I am extremely proud of how the students behave today; they are peaceful, respectful, and upholding high spirits.”
“The uniform change was pitched as saving money for parents and gender neutral and inclusive for all students, but there was no consultation, which made parents smart.”
“It feels like they’re punishing girls for wanting to be girls, and it doesn’t feel inclusive.”
“There are a handful of girls who keep their skirts rolled up, but that’s been the case since I was at school in the 1980s, but why should the entire female student body be punished for a handful of girls?”
Another parent said she “will not accept your school uniform update, and my daughter will continue to wear skirts and other female clothing to school.”
She called the letter “nonsense” and “anti-women” and demanded the school’s teachers hold a meeting with parents and reverse the decision to “apologize for the incredibly hurtful letter.”
‘I think they’ve taken away the girl’s option – they’re punishing the girls,’ said Lesley Southam, whose 10-year-old daughter.
Thames Valley Police responded to “claims of a disturbance” at the school at 9.10am on Friday” to safeguard the safety of kids and staff.”
“No arrests have been made,” the force said. After Friday morning’s protests, the school had to email parents to pick up their kids on police advice.
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It said: “We have taken the tough decision to close the school today. If you are able, please come and collect your child; please do so immediately.”
Southampton, Blackpool, and Essex students have staged “TikTok protests” in the past 24 hours. Several clips from TikTok and Snapchat have garnered millions of views, suggesting young people planned them.
MailOnline obtained footage of pupils from other schools asking how they might copy their protests, raising concerns the pattern is spreading. The Department of Education said it was “concerned” about the trend.
Its spokesman said: “We are concerned by reports of disruption and will be contacting all schools and local authorities to ensure their support at this time.”
“We will always support headteachers to take the necessary steps to maintain calm and supportive classroom environments as they are best placed to work with their teachers, parents, pupils, and local communities when developing and implementing policies.”
Warner’s school and TikTok were approached for comment.