COLUMN: Latest ban is false fingernails

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It won’t make the headlines like a recent ban on selling energy drinks to young people did, but we have also made a new ban of our own this month, telling our students that long false fingernails have no place at school.

This is not because of health and safety, nor because we fear fashion rivalry, but simply because while long acrylic nails do look decorative, they are a drawback when it comes to holding a pen, picking up a paintbrush, kneading dough in food science or playing sport in PE.

This stops their wearers from doing their work and that is enough to earn them a place in our own Room 101, alongside energy drinks, body piercings, trainers and fidget spinners.

Banning things comes as part of the territory when it comes to running a school. It is often a controversial issue and different schools take different approaches to different fads and fashions.

We do allow mobile phones in school, but not in lessons, while some schools ban them completely.

Other schools might have different rules on hair and footwear, although I can’t imagine many schools allowing fidget spinners.

They are no longer as widespread as they once were but they became hugely popular during one school holiday and I only found out what they were at 9am on the first day back. By 11am, I’d banned them.

We have already sent a letter home to parents about false nails, following on from a reminder letter concerning the ban on energy drinks, as well as family-sized bags of crisps.

We rely on the co-operation of parents, hoping that while they want to give their children the freedom to express and enjoy themselves, they understand that we are a community which cannot function without rules.

One of our rules is that learning is key and nothing must disrupt that, which is why the nails, alongside the energy drinks – which can cause a student to be hyperactive one minute and lethargic the next, when the sugar high wears off – have now found their way onto the banned list.