Strangest School Rules From Around The World

By molly atherton 4 months ago
Welcome, curious minds and rule-breaking aficionados! Prepare to be flabbergasted, astounded, and possibly befuddled as we embark on a riveting journey through the peculiar corridors of education. In this captivating exposé, we unveil the enigmatic world of bizarre school regulations that stretch the boundaries of normalcy across the globe. From the peculiar to the downright head-scratching, join us as we unravel the tapestry of strange school rules.

Kneeling On Frozen Peas As Punishment In China

Can you believe it? Picture this: a student in China decides to share a snapshot on social media, not of a scenic landscape or a goofy selfie, but of her own knees—red, probably frostbitten, thanks to an unconventional penalty from her school.Image Source/ RedditNow, this one is unbelievable. A student in China posted a photo on social media showing her knees after a punishment from school was that she had to kneel on a bag of frozen peas. Apparently this isn't uncommon in Asia! It is just one of the many bizarre forms of punishment they use.Original content sourced from

Make An Official Chastity Pledge

In the realm of unusual school customs, the United Kingdom boasts a rather unexpected tradition that might leave you scratching your head: the voluntary undertaking of a chastity pledge. That's right—imagine walking the hallowed halls of a British school with this rule...Image Source / TwitterThis isn't a school rule that forces this pledge upon its students, but at school in the UK, students are highly encouraged to take a chastity pledge. And if they accept, the pledge has to be made in writing and then signed by two teachers.

Students Are Actually Banned From Winning

Ah, the thrill of competition, the rush of adrenaline as you strive to emerge victorious, the sweet taste of triumph—the quintessence of school days. But hold your horses! In a surprising turn of events, schools in the United Kingdom have waved the white flag.Image Source / The Gainsborough AcademyOne of the most exciting things about being in school is the friendly competitiveness - coming out top in your class, or being the winner for a sport in PE. But now, schools in the UK have banned the concept of 'winning' - this is to prevent anyone's feelings from being hurt, and it's done so by awarding prizes to both the top two people.

In France, No Ketchup Is Allowed In Schools

Ah, the culinary world—where flavors collide, traditions intertwine, and condiments find themselves embroiled in cultural controversies. In France, the land of exquisite cuisine and gastronomic prowess, an unexpected player has sparked a fiery debate: the seemingly innocent ketchup.Image Source/ RedditThere is a concern in France that ketchup can make you 'too American'. In an effort to protect their culture, schools in France have banned ketchup from being put on any food, with the exception of french fries, where it can be used as an accompanying dip.

You Need A Voucher To Use The Bathroom

Imagine navigating the school day armed not just with textbooks and pencils, but with a precious commodity—a bathroom voucher. Yes, welcome to the curious world of some American schools where the call of nature comes with a price tag or a limit.Image Source / SouthwestIn New York, a school gives out vouchers to students that entitle them to one bathroom break. They get three vouchers per week per class. If you lose a voucher there's no replacement so you will be holding it in quite a while! Another school in Chicago limits it to 3 bathroom breaks per semester!

Saying 'Oh Snap' Is BANNED

Picture a school buzzing with conversations, where amidst the chatter, a simple phrase—"oh snap"—becomes the center of an unexpected controversy. In this curious case, what started as an innocuous expression intended to sidestep colorful language morphed into a misunderstanding of epic proportions.Image Source / The GuardianOne school decided to ban students from saying 'oh snap' after misunderstanding what it meant. Students would say it as an alternative to swearing, but apparently teachers took it to be a euphemism for girls sleeping with someone if they snapped their bracelet.

Students Can't Enter The School If They're Late In Japan

In the land of the rising sun, time isn't merely a ticking clock; it's a revered principle ingrained deeply in the cultural fabric. Punctuality isn't just a virtue; it's a way of life, and this meticulous adherence to time echoes resoundingly in the corridors of Japanese schools.Image Source / Harling SecurityThe Japanese take punctuality very seriously, and this applies to school attendance, too. You might thing if a student is late they'd be reprimanded but then urged to their day's lessons, but nope - unless there is a very urgent reason for being late, they won't be allowed in.

Not Allowed To Shave Legs Or Paint Nails

In the corridors of Japanese schools, a unique set of regulations shapes not just academic life, but the very appearance of students themselves. Among these rules stands a staunch stance on personal grooming—one that takes the concept of a dress code to an entirely different level.Image Source/ MashableLots of schools all over the world have rules about not wearing make up, but Japan takes the win with their strict rules on appearance. They definitely don't allow students to wear make up, but painted nails and shaved legs are among other things banned. They think if they spend less time on their appearance then they have more time to study.

The Male And Female Divide

The winds of change in Kabul's educational landscape have brought forth a new paradigm—classroom segregation between male and female students, a visible division echoing across the premises of institutions such as Avicenna University.Image Source/ ReutersNew classroom rules in Kabul, Afghanistan have seen male and female students segregated anywhere on school premises, including all classes. This picture that went viral on the internet shows Avicenna University separating their students using a curtain.

Ugg Boots Are Banned Because Students Were Smuggling Stuff In Them

In the halls of a Pennsylvania school, a seemingly innocent fashion accessory found itself in the center of an unexpected controversy—Ugg boots, the cozy, sheepskin-lined footwear beloved for its comfort, faced an unexpected ban. But the reason behind this decision wasn't a critique of fashion choices...Image Source/ SFGateA school in Pennsylvania has banned Ugg boots from being worn to school, but not for the reason you might think. The idea wasn't to control the 'fashion' they could wear, but because some female students were smuggling in banned mobile phones into school in their boots.

Good Luck Bracelets Classed As Cheating In Japan

In Japan, where traditions and superstitions often dance hand in hand, an unexpected limit on luck has emerged within the confines of school rules. Brace yourself for a tale where good fortune, of all things, comes with a strict cap.Image Source/ PinterestIn Japan, there is such a thing as too much good luck. Who knew? Schools in Japan will only allow their students to have one good luck bracelet each. Any more than that and it is considered cheating! Now that would be unfair on your fellow classmates.

Children Aren't Allowed to Bring Food Prepared At Home

France's culinary landscape is a canvas painted with the vibrant hues of gastronomic delights and cultural intricacies. In this tapestry of flavors and traditions, school lunch isn't just a meal—it's a reflection of the nation's rich culinary heritage.Image Source / Strong4LifeAs well as officially banning ketchup from schools, France also implemented a rule that schoolchildren weren't allowed to bring their own food from home. When you think about the amount of kids these days that take in their own packed lunch, this rule seems very strange.

No One Can Score 100% Except God, You Will Be Marked Down To 99%

Ah, the rules of a Catholic all-girls high school—a setting where discipline, tradition, and faith intertwine in curious ways. Among the many regulations that might seem straight out of a page from a bygone era, there's a particularly unique one that raises eyebrows...Image Source/ Very Well FamilyYou can imagine some of the rules to come out of a Catholic all girls high school, but one of them is that no one can score 100% in a test. It is said that only God can be perfect. So anyone scoring 100% is automatically bunked down to 99%, meaning this is the highest possible score you can achieve.

Locked Inside Closet

The trust and safety of children in a learning environment are sacred, and it's distressing to hear of incidents that betray that trust so fundamentally. The idea of a teacher using fear and isolation as a form of punishment, especially towards such young children, is deeply troubling.Image source / Mom.comMost young children would be frightened of monsters in the closet but a cruel teacher in Houston scared one of the 4 year old kids even more. She made him stand in the closet and locked the door behind him.  He could be heard crying and was so scared that he threw up. The same said sadistic teacher inflicted this punishment on 3 other children.  Their crime was for not paying attention in class.

Eating Lunch Off The Floor

Imagine being a high school student, attending class as usual, and suddenly finding yourself embroiled in a collective punishment for an accidental spill. The notion of being forced to eat lunch off the floor as a consequence for one mishap is unsettling.Image source / QuoraA high school in New Jersey came to the attention of the authorities for punishing a whole class because a jug of water was spilled in the classroom.  The pupils were forced to eat their lunch off the floor and were warned not to say anything to their parents.  Of course, the kids did tell them and the school was put on ‘special measures’.

Therapy Bag

That's a distressing and deeply concerning situation, especially considering the vulnerability of the child involved. The use of a duffel bag as a form of punishment is not just inappropriate but also traumatic, especially for a child with autism who might have particular sensitivities and needs.Image source / HuffPostThe therapy bag is a duffel bag that a Kentucky teacher used as punishment for an autistic 9 year old for not doing his homework.  When his mum came to pick him up, she was alarmed to find her son trying to wriggle out of the bag and screaming.  The only positive to this is that the teacher was fired.

Chopping Off Braids

This scenario described is deeply troubling and heartbreaking, especially when considering the vulnerability of the young student involved. The breach of trust and the physical violation of cutting off a child's braids without any justifiable reason is a profoundly distressing act.Image source / YouTubeA Milwaukee school teacher became frustrated when a young pupil wasn’t listening to her during a lesson.  Rather than have a word with her, she got a pair of scissors and cut off her braids, leaving the girl shell shocked.  When questioned by the authorities, the teacher said she was upset about a personal issue and took it out on the once long-haired girl.

Christmas Is Cancelled

The decision to ban Christmas and other religious holiday decorations in a Texas elementary school is undoubtedly a sensitive and complex issue, touching upon the intersection of cultural inclusivity, religious diversity, and the expression of traditions.

Image Source / iStock

Most schools are usually decorated around the holidays, but not one elementary school in Texas who decided to ban Christmas as well as any other religious holidays. This means no Christmas trees and no red and green decorations. This is to avoid offending anyone.

Handstands As A Punishment

Asia's educational landscape often showcases a myriad of discipline methods, some of which might seem unconventional in other parts of the world. In the realm of strict school rules, where discipline takes various forms, Asia has garnered attention for its unique approaches to correctional measures.Image Source/ YouTubeWe mentioned one bizarre method of punishment earlier, but there are many more unusual forms of punishment in Asia, which is know for its strict school rules. One of these is making students do handstands as a form of punishment. Also on the list are push ups and running!

Bake Sales Banned In Massachusetts

The aroma of freshly baked goods wafting through school corridors—a nostalgic image that many associate with bake sales, a delightful intersection of fundraising and sugary treats. However, in Massachusetts, the beloved bake sale tradition hit a roadblock.Image Source/ Voluntary Service OverseasThe food police are around in Massachusetts, where a ban was placed on bake sales in schools. Justifying the decision as a way to reduce the growing childhood obesity problem, it was unsurprisingly met with outrage by pupils and parents craving their regular sugar fix.

No Groups Of 5 In The UK

The belief that misfortune comes in groups of five took an unexpected turn when a UK school implemented a ban on gatherings of five or more students on its grounds. The rationale behind this unusual rule? To curb the formation and behavior of what was perceived as potential gangs.Image Source/ FreepikApparently all bad things happen in groups of five. Or at least that's what one UK school thought when they banned groups of five or more from gathering together on school grounds. It's thought that this will reduce the formation and behaviour of gangs.

Australia Bans Cartwheels

It's a sunny day on the playground, and the air is filled with laughter and the joyous sound of kids being kids. Cartwheels, those spontaneous bursts of acrobatics that once adorned schoolyards, have encountered an unexpected hurdle in a Sydney school's rulebook.Image Source/ Kids | Love to KnowDo you remember doing cartwheels on the playground with your friends? Well a school in Sydney, Australia has banned this from happening unless under direct supervision of a gymnastics teacher. I imagine handstands and backflips will go the same way soon...

Best Friends Aren't Allowed In The UK

In an unexpected twist on fostering inclusivity and minimizing emotional distress, some schools in the UK have introduced a policy that bids farewell to the concept of "best friends." The rationale behind this decision might initially seem perplexing.Image Source/ PopSugar'Best Friends' are no longer allowed in schools in the UK. The aim of this protective measure is to prevent children from going through the trauma of break ups with close friends and friendship groups, and encourage larger groups to play together in school.

Collarbones Are Not Allowed

The decision to send a high school student home due to her collarbones being visible might appear surprising. The implication that a student's attire might be distracting to male students and impact their ability to focus on their work highlights an underlying issue.Image Source/ TwitterOne school in Kentucky sent a female high school student home when they felt she was too exposed with her collarbones on show. It was suggested that she may be distracting male students from their work and was instructed to go home and change into something more appropriate.

Red Pen = Negative

The decision to ban the use of red ink for grading student papers in the UK marks a shift in the perception of colors and their potential psychological impact on students' learning experiences. Traditionally, red ink has been associated with corrections.Image Source/ Daily MailTeachers in the UK are now banned from using red pen to mark their student's papers! This is because the red ink is perceived as 'negative' and could have a negative influence on the children. Instead, more neutral and calming colours should be used.

Strict Ban On Relationships

For many, school days are not just about academics but also about navigating the complexities of relationships and social interactions. However, in some Japanese academies, the emphasis is placed squarely on academic performance, and romantic relationships are viewed as potential distractions.Image Source/ PinterestWho would have thought that dating someone at school would be a distraction from your studies? Apparently a lot of people. In Japan, many academies have imposed a strict ban on any romantic relationships between students so they have more time to concentrate on their work.

No High Fives & No Hugging Between Students

It's true, some UK and American schools have implemented stringent rules that restrict physical contact among students, reshaping the dynamics of human interaction within the school environment. The move to ban physical contact encompasses everything from high-fives to hugs.Image Source/ FreepikThe world's gone mad. It is now against the rules in some UK and American schools for students to have any physical contact. So when your mate scores the winning goal you can't high five him, and when you're reunited with your friends after summer break there is no hugging allowed. You are, however, allowed to wave at each other from a distance.

Also, No Fist Bumps

It's intriguing to consider how even the seemingly innocuous act of a fist bump has fallen under scrutiny within some school environments in America. The decision to disallow fist bumps amid a broader no-physical-contact rule underscores the meticulous attention to safety protocols...Image Source/ The AtlanticA specific caveat to the no physical contact rule at one school in America is that fist bumps are not allowed. The brief bump of two people's fists must breach some health and safety rules, as this school was worried it would end with people being accidentally punched in the face...

No Running At School!

The decision to ban running during school hours in an Australian school is indeed a notable departure from the typical notions of playtime and physical activity in educational settings. While the intention behind such a rule might be rooted in prioritizing student safety, it has sparked conversations...Image Source/ The MirrorEncouraging kids to be active is arguably a very important part of their education. But not for one school in Australia, who has banned running at school altogether. The 'no running policy' has been put in place to keep students safe. Sounds to me like they have just taken the fun out of playtime.

Clean Your Own Classroom

The Japanese approach to school cleanliness and responsibility is indeed distinctive, reflecting a cultural emphasis on fostering responsibility, teamwork, and community values from a young age. The practice of students taking active roles in maintaining the cleanliness of their school environments...Image Source / The GuardianYou won't find any cleaners in a school in Japan as the students are responsible for keeping their classrooms and bathrooms clean. They even serve their own lunches! This is so every child grows up to be a responsible citizen. Sounds like child labour to me!

Take Those Accessories Out

The prohibition of accessories, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, and even small, plain stud earrings, is rooted in the philosophy of maintaining a standardized appearance among students. The aim is to foster a sense of equality, minimize distractions, and uphold a disciplined environment within schools.Image Source/ WikipediaStudents in Japan are prohibited from wearing any accessories to school as its claimed that it may make the students get into trouble. This includes rings, necklaces, bracelets and any other type of accessories including ear piercings. Even small, plain stud earrings are banned.

No Exposed Shoulders

The decision to ban bare shoulders in a school setting reflects a meticulous approach toward dress codes and minimizing potential distractions within the educational environment. The enforcement of a dress code that mandates covering shoulders aligns with a broader effort.Image Source/ The Globe and MailSchools really will go to any lengths to stop their students getting distracted. Apparently another thing that can cause them to lose focus is bare shoulders. So they are now banned from a school in the US. Shoulders must always be covered when attending school.

A Cone Of Toys For Every German First Year Student

The 'Schultüte,' a delightful and cherished tradition in Germany, marks an exciting milestone in a child's life as they embark on their first year of school. This cone-shaped container filled with toys, sweets, and school supplies represents not just a sweet surprise but a symbolic gesture.Image Source/ Multilingual MumEvery child in Germany starting their first year at school gets a cone full of toys as a gift! Called a 'Schultüte', it's a longstanding tradition that symbolises a new chapter in their lives. In addition to toys, the cone may contain sweets and school supplies.

No Hair Dye

In Japanese schools, regulations regarding hair color reflect a cultural emphasis on uniformity and conformity within the educational environment. The rules prohibit dyed or visibly unnatural hair colors, aiming to maintain a standardized appearance among students.Image Source/ The Smart LocalDying your hair is not allowed in Japanese schools. However, the interesting bit is that if your natural hair is a colour different to black, then students are either forced to colour their hair black or get a certificate to prove that their natural hair colour is another colour other than black.

Put Your Hands Down

In Nottinghamshire, the traditional practice of raising hands to answer questions in classrooms has undergone a transformation, sparking discussions about fostering inclusive learning environments and encouraging participation among all students.Image Source/ Daily MailRaise your hand if you know the answer! Well not in Nottinghamshire. It's been branded 'useless' and has been banned. This is due to teachers noticing the same hands always going up and concerns that this doesn't encourage learning for everyone. Instead, a teacher can now choose anyone to answer a question.

'LOL' No More

The decision to ban acronyms like 'LOL' and 'OMG' from school yearbooks in a Georgia, USA school reflects a deliberate effort to maintain a formal and respectful tone within the commemorative pages. The school's initiative involves students signing a pledge to uphold these standards.Image Source/ Wikimedia CommonsAcronyms like 'LOL' and 'OMG' have been banned from school yearbooks by a school in Georgia, USA. The school asked all students to signs a pledge agreeing they would respect their yearbooks and not write words such as these in each others books. SMH!

Curly Hair Is A No

The strict regulation against curly hair in some Japanese schools reflects the cultural emphasis on conformity and uniformity within educational institutions. This policy requiring girls with naturally curly hair to straighten it aligns with the school's dress code.Image Source/ Fox NewsThere isn't just a problem with coloured hair in Japan, curly hair is also not allowed at school. Girls with naturally curly hair are instructed to straighten it to fit with the school's dress code. Failing to do this, or present to school with 'neat' hair, may lead to them being denied entry to school.

Purple Penguins From Nebraska

The shift toward using gender-neutral terms like 'purple penguins' in Nebraska schools represents a broader movement aimed at creating more inclusive and welcoming environments for all students, regardless of gender identity.Image Source/ HowdoUteachNebraska schools, in an effort to be inclusive to all genders, now require teachers to call their students 'purple penguins' or other gender neutral terms that can include everyone. They can no longer refer to their students as a 'boy' or a 'girl'.

'Birthdays' Among Other Words Have Been Banned

The ban on specific words like "birthdays," "poverty," and "disease" by the New York Department of Education is a part of an effort to create a sensitive and inclusive learning environment where certain topics or terms may evoke discomfort or distress among students.Image Source / WikipediaIn New York, the Department of Education banned certain words from being used, including birthdays, poverty and disease. This is to prevent offending anyone or bring up any painful memories a child may have. Some religions don't celebrate birthdays, for example.

Some Schools Have A Morning Meditation Rule

Incorporating meditation into the daily routine of schools signifies a significant shift toward prioritizing mental well-being and fostering a positive mindset among students and educators alike. The practice of starting the day with meditation aims to create a calm and centered environment.Image Source / Mindful.orgMeditation has fast become something a lot of people are trying to incorporate into their everyday routine, but imagine doing it every morning as part of your school routine. The meditation even extends to the teachers, too. This is to hopefully set everyone in a positive mindset.

Dodgeball And 'Human Target' Sports Banned

The decision to ban dodgeball and other "human target" sports in New Hampshire schools marks a significant shift in the approach to physical education, emphasizing a move away from activities that might foster aggression or lead to feelings of exclusion among students.Image Source / British DodgeballIn New Hampshire, schools have made the decision to ban dodgeball - a popular sport and what most people will remember playing in their school days. This, as well as other 'human target' sports, have been banned due to bullying and violence reasons.

Bikes Are Banned

The ban on riding bikes to school in New Jersey, despite the health benefits and potential fun associated with this mode of transportation, reflects the complexities and concerns surrounding safety regulations and liability issues within school environments.

Image Source / Children's Health

You'd think schools would be doing everything in their power to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle, but despite the health and fun benefits for kids riding their bikes to school, schools in New Jersey have banned bikes due to 'safety and liability issues'.

Hard Balls Are Too Hard

The ban on hard balls in a Toronto school reflects a heightened awareness of safety concerns and the potential risks associated with certain types of play equipment in school settings. Hard balls, often used in various sports and activities during Physical Education classes or on playgrounds, pose a risk.Image Source / Turney SchoolHave you really been in a school Phys Ed class, or the school playground, if you haven't been hit in the face with at least one ball? Well, a school in Toronto made the decision to ban hard balls due to a parent receiving concussion from one, saying that they're too dangerous.

You're Not Allowed To Announce Whether You've Been Accepted Into College

The ban on students sharing their college acceptance news in some New York schools reflects a conscientious effort to consider the emotional well-being of all students, aiming to prevent potential feelings of exclusion or disappointment among those who might not have received similar acceptances.Image Source / Western Wayne School DistrictYou've worked hard for so long that when you get that college acceptance letter, your first instinct is to scream, hug everyone around you and cry. But schools in New York have banned students from revealing whether or not they've been accepted into college - to spare the feelings of others who haven't been accepted.

Don't Even Think About Clapping!

Spontaneous applause, while seemingly harmless, can escalate quickly and disrupt classroom proceedings. What might start as a single clap could snowball into a disruptive round of applause, creating a distraction and interrupting the flow of lessons or activities.Image Source / ABC NewsOne school in the UK decided to ban clapping after the headteacher got so infuriated with random bouts of clapping that they decided enough was enough. Apparently students would always randomly clap which would inspire other people to join in and before you know it you have a disruptive round of applause that the head just couldn't deal with.

Make Sure Your Shoes Aren't Too Shiny

In certain girls' schools around the world, rules regarding shoe shine and reflection prevention aim to address concerns about modesty and privacy. The rule prohibiting excessively shiny shoes is rooted in preventing potential reflections that could inadvertently expose a girl's skirt when seated or standing.Image Source / School ShoesYou'd think schools would have strict rules about shoes needed to be shined and cleaned, but the opposite is true for some schools in the world - at least the girls schools, anyway. Apparently your shoes can't be too shiny to prevent a reflection of up a girl's skirt.

Skirt Length Has To Be Routinely Inspected

The practice of girls kneeling in the hallway for skirt measurements in some schools reflects a strict adherence to uniform standards, particularly concerning skirt length, with the intention of maintaining a certain level of modesty and professionalism.Image Source / AliExpressThere are a lot of rules implemented regarding school uniform, some that make sense in regard to tidiness and looking professional, and others which are more geared towards covering girls up as much as possible. For most girls schools in the world, they're made to kneel in the hallway so that their skirt can be measured.

A Body Spray Ban

The decision to ban these body sprays stemmed from an allergic reaction experienced by someone within the school community, raising awareness about the potential risks associated with certain fragrances. Additionally, concerns about the overpowering scents.Image Source / Ubuy UKYou'd think schools would encourage children to smell their best, but a school in Pennsylvania banned AXE body spray after an allergic reaction, with further fears about body sprays and deodorants affecting allergies - and also setting fire alarms off if sprayed like crazy.

You Can't Stand In Circles

The decision to prohibit standing in circles likely stems from the idea that when students gather in a circular formation, there might be opportunities for hidden or unsupervised activities in the center. This ban aims to address potential issues related to visibility and monitoring.Image Source / Super SimpleWho knows what tomfoolery you could get up to in the centre of a circle, after all! One school in the US banned youngsters from standing in circles during recess because something untoward could be happening in the middle, blocked from view. Standing in squares was the preferred option.

No Jackets Allowed

The ban on jackets, hats, and gloves in a Wisconsin school, attributed to concerns about them being perceived as 'gang symbols', reflects the school's attempt to address safety and security issues within its environment.Image Source / County Sports and SchoolwearIf you're from a school in the UK, you may remember teachers frowning at you putting your coat in class, because you 'wouldn't feel the benefit when you went outside'. Well a school in Wisconsin decided to completely ban jackets, as well as hats and gloves, citing them as 'gang symbols'.