High Schools are the New Prison? You Decide.

We have all seen the posts on social media showing how the elderly have a life worse than convicts. While I trust that to be true, has anyone ever thought how the school system is set up like a prison? The new Academies are square blocks of concrete, with no charm. But more worrying is what goes on inside them. Let’s have a look at some of the regulations that high schools now have.


In the U.K. we are experiencing record heat temperatures and not just for a day either. I know this is not normal weather behaviour for us Brits. But I thought that having water was a basic human right. It must be, because if you can’t pay your water bill, legally they can’t cut it off.

In high school, children do not carry bottles of water around with them. It appears to be a security risk adopted from airports. Last week a boy took a bottle of water out of his bag while in class, and the teacher took it and threw it in the bin. The teacher gave no explanation for this and left pupils puzzled. There are no water fountains because Health & Hygiene forbids them.

cup of water

What happened when a child asked, “Please can I get some water?”

“No.” Came the reply from the Teacher.
The child explains “Ms, I have not been able to get a drink today as the food hall was full and I could not get in.”
A roll of the eyes from the teacher, she reluctantly says “Fine, go to the medical room and hurry up.”

The pupil goes to the medical room and asks for some water. The second adult shows frustration with the request. Just this once, It is for people that need it.”

When I first heard this, I laughed. My laughing met with a face looking back at me that was insulted. I brought this subject up with a different group of teenagers, and they tell me of similar experiences.

One girl said, “I asked for some water today, and got told it is not allowed anymore.”
I understand teachers do not want the disruption to their lessons. But children are becoming dehydrated and getting headaches. The teachers know this will affect learning negatively. It is proven that people are more irritable in hot weather, so why poke the bear cubs?

Are the teachers allowed a drink on their desk? Yes, they are. So why are the children restricted throughout the day with access to water? The kids can’t complain, because that is being “disruptive and rude.” Which leads to a detention. You do not want a detention as that means going even longer without water.



Remember the heat wave I mentioned. It is hotter than the Mediterranean.
I see the high schooler’s in full uniform, shirts buttoned all the way, ties and blazers on. I often wondered “What is wrong with these kids?

I am informed by a bunch of students “We are not allowed to remove our ties or blazers unless it is an allocated day.”
I ask in bewilderment “What is an allocated day?”
“An allocated day is one that the Headteacher decides.” comes the reply.
I smile unbelieving, “Well in this weather, you can remove your blazer and ties?”

They answer “No, we have to keep them on, especially inside the building.”

This is insane. There is no allowance to undo the top button or loosen the tie. Plus they are carrying around a bag with more baggage than an airport allows. I am sure this is not going to help them not needing water.

Other countries understand the implications of heat. Females wear simple summer dresses. Males can wear shorts and a polo shirt. We have them trussed up like a turkey. Now I know we are not used to this amazing weather and people are understandably in shock. But that alone should be the reason the Children can remove ties and blazers. They are baking. Let’s get some common sense. It costs the school nothing to make allowances.


school lunch

I am always stunned at what food pupils get for what the description reads and how much they have paid for it. This image sent to me the other day “Ham & Cheese baguette.”

The pupil said she was “hungry but threw it in the bin.” This does happen a lot.

They complain “We have to wait in huge ques and sometimes we don’t get in. If we do this is what we get and that is if there is anything left.”

They buy food, inspect it, then it ends up in the bin. A waste of food and money. They describe what they buy in simple ways, “The ham was purple.”, “There was no filling.”, “It smelled weird.”

It must be bad because I know a few of these kids love aeroplane food, and that’s with no alcohol to wash it down. The food issue is a problem in the USA too. There are images all over the internet. Showing how prison food is better than what our growing youngsters are being fed.

I suggested they come home for lunch and was told that would incur a cost of £1.50 per day. £1.50 for a child to leave the building. I have to be honest and admit I used profanity when I heard that one. Why would I have to pay £1.50 for the school to feed my child at home? I am trying to work out how that is a cost to the school, I have drawn a blank.

Adam and the Ants lyrics pop into my head at this point. “I’m the dandy highwayman who you’re too scared to mention.” Only the highwayman here is not wearing eyeliner with white strips on their cheeks. Though it is a bloody cheek to have to pay to leave school for an hour. Answers on a postcard please if anyone has the answer.


Please leave all personalities at home. Do not question anything or anyone. Do not stand out in any way.

The advice from my 14-year-old to her 13yr old sibling on dealing with teachers in high school. “Fly under the radar, blend in. Don’t be the clever one or the funny one. Never disagree or ask any questions and you will be o.k.”

His reply “That’s me well and truly done for.”

As time goes by, you realise her advice was the correct advice for conformity. Children that do not desire attention will do as they are told every time, whether they agree with it or not. Now, I am not saying “Let’s all fight the establishment.” with the Beastie boys theme in the background. But why have we accepted being taught is a case of doing exactly what we are told to do?


I have one child who chooses to “Fly under the radar“. Stating “I know they are wrong but it is best to say nothing and that way I don’t draw attention to myself.

I have another child who chooses to fly above the radar and subsequently is in detention a lot. He will voice his questions and stands up for what he believes to be an injustice. The teachers state in doing so “He is always polite and respectful.”

At the age of 12, he had to write an essay on why he agreed with a certain war.
He asked if he could write the essay from the view “I do not agree with the war?” because he actually did not agree with the war.

He was told, “No, you will write it how I said, or you will go to the Headteacher.”

I told him that he should have chosen to go to the Headteacher.

Why on earth would the teacher threaten his inquisitiveness and his views? It seemed to me it would have been a win-win. Unfortunately, the teacher won that day. But what she did makes the teacher a failure at her chosen profession. Prisoners have more say than a growing, inquisitive individual.


locked gates

Your child does not belong to you anymore. We say when it is valid for your child to be out of school. Sickness, appointments, holidays forget it. Once the school bell goes it is LOCKDOWN. When those doors lock it is like the watertight doors on a cruise ship closing. No one in and no one out. Any parent will have to explain to a judge before you can remove your child.

If your child’s attendance is not over 97% expect a letter home, to point out your inadequacies as a parent. Understand this attendance is only strict for the pupils. Teachers attendance records are appalling by the way. There is a big business for supply teachers. One year the children did not have a teacher for a particular subject for a whole school year.

The schools only point out the lost education when children have days off. It is never highlighted the amount of lost time due to lack of teachers.

The kids don’t moan about this because the supply teachers tend to give them some freedom in class. The reason is they are not sure what to teach.

The system is not changing. Research is showing more and more that the system desperately needs to change. Let’s treat them as originals of themselves. After speaking to a Headteacher I was not surprised when he said: “My job in school is stress management, and to get them through 38 exams a year.

“But today, we don’t need to make robot zombies. The world had progressed, and now we need people. Who think creatively, innovatively, critically, interdependently, with the ability to connect” Prince ea

The most powerful tool children have, is their mind. It is more powerful than the best supercomputer in the world.

Who decided to mute their most powerful tool by keeping them in a socially accepted prison?
They were not born to be herded or imprisoned.
Why do we all allow it?



2 thoughts on “High Schools are the New Prison? You Decide.

  1. The heat is such in the southern hemisphere that children are expected to bring water with them to class; uniforms are adapted according to the weather – even within the vagaries of unusual weather. Teacher absenteeism is the real problem in many government schools, along with a lacklustre approach to teaching.


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