Kyushu drives changes to school rules to ensure freedoms are respected

Japan Times -- Jan 24
Saga and Nagasaki prefectures have asked their schools to review their regulations that require students to wear white underwear, prompting them to make revisions.

Public elementary, junior high and high schools in Kyushu are changing unreasonable school rules, after all seven prefectures in the region and its major cities issued notices and guidelines for public schools to do so.

The city of Kumamoto has made student participation in the establishment and change of school rules compulsory under its school management regulations for municipal elementary, junior high and high schools.

Saga and Nagasaki prefectures have also asked their schools to review their regulations that require students to wear white underwear, prompting them to make the revision. But because school principals have the authority to set school rules, experts say that the board of education should first raise awareness among teachers.

In May, Kumamoto — the only city with such guidelines — also compiled a list of questions and answers about the review, and set forth the following standards for schools:

Establishing a system in which students think and decide for themselves.

Establishing rules that are necessary and reasonable.

Making school rules public.

Some schools in Japan have rules prohibiting students from dying their black hair brown or having a perm, as these are sometimes considered a sign of delinquency. If their hair is naturally brown or curly, for example, such schools require students to show proof by submitting a photo of them from early childhood. Then they would need to gain the school’s permission so that they do not have to have their hair dyed black or have it straightened. The city of Kumamoto specifically instructed schools that these rules would have to be changed.

Schools were also urged to revise rules that do not respect gender diversity, such as separate uniform requirements for boys and girls. And the city asked that the school rules be made public on each school’s website, so that parents and local residents can keep an eye on them. ...continue reading