Being a child isn’t always easy, especially when you’re at school. You’re slowly but surely learning how to socialize while trying to discover your place in the world. As children are still growing, the last thing they want is to needlessly stand out from the crowd.
So parents were naturally outraged when an English principle decided to create a rich/poor divide in her schoolyard.
It’s no secret that public schools are being subjected to greater and greater cutbacks by authorities around the world – and this includes the UK.
Many teachers are being forced to go into their own pockets to pay for supplies and because less staff are hired, they must deal with larger class sizes.
In an attempt to combat this problem in the playground, the parent-teacher council at Wednesbury Oak Academy in Tipton, England, decided that the students’ parents could raise the money amongst themselves to buy toys like skipping ropes and footballs.
This led to an $8 charge being asked of all parents to pay for the toys.
However, only 50 of the school’s 450 pupil’s parents paid for the toys.
Using the toys was described as being part of a “lunchtime activity club” by Principle Maria Bull and only the children whose parents had paid for them were allowed to use them. However, they were allowed to invite a friend who hadn’t paid a “couple of times a week”.
Bull said that the charge was affordable because it only amounted to 15 pence (20 cents) a week.
As 50 parents paid, $409 was raised, but, according to Principle Bull, this was only able to buy the schoolyard some tennis balls, a soccer ball, a rugby ball, a slinky and two skipping ropes.
The parent-teacher council has subsequently hit back at Principle Bull’s decision. They had informed the parents that the payment was “voluntary” and that the children of those who did not contribute would still be able to use the toys.
“‘It’s horrible because your child is segregated,” the mother pictured below said.
As a result of the outrage which Principle Bull’s decision caused, the ‘rich-poor playground divide’ was revoked within 24 hours.
However, the Mirror reported that she has since defended her decision and said that there were no parents at the school who couldn’t afford the fee. She added that she was “on the verge” of calling the police because a number of angry parents had attacked her online.
“Schools get an awful lot of bad press for doing things that benefit the children,” she said. “We are asking for just [$8] a year. We are talking about a 20-minute area outside with some [toys]. We are running this as a lunchtime activity club.”
“I wouldn’t ask parents to pay for another child’s after-school club. Parents threatening staff, the headteacher, it’s unacceptable. This is cyber bullying of a school. Parents have behaved in a highly threatening manner on Facebook, telling me ‘I need a good slapping’.”
“We have systems in place where parents can come and address their concerns. I am on the verge of calling the police.”
Regardless of whether or not you agree with Principle Bull’s decision to prevent children from playing with toys because their parents had not contributed towards them, there is no denying that this Chinese nursery teacher deserves to be condemned.
She hit the headlines last month after footage emerged of her kicking, punching and pushing her young pupils. Check it out below:
As a result of the footage, the school in China’s Shaanxi Province has received countless complaints from parents.
It has been reported by the Daily Mail that the teacher in question lost her temper after her pupils misbehaved the entire day.
Shenmu City’s education bureau reportedly said that they had contacted the school about the incident, although it is not known if the teacher in question, who left her entire class shaking with fear, was suspended from her position or not.
The school has claimed that the teacher has publically apologized to the parents of the children she assaulted.
We hope that the incident at Principle Bull’s school serves as a reminder that children should never be treated differently based on the actions of their parents and that justice is served for the children who were assaulted in China.