Canada:High school bans Canada Goose coats to combat ‘poverty shaming’

Jackets are on display at the Canada Goose Inc. showroom in Toronto on Thursday, November 28, 2013. Luxury jacket maker Canada Goose Holdings Inc. reported a net loss of $18.7 million in its first quarter as it pushed further into international markek/The Canadian Press.

A British high school has banned Canada Goose, Moncler and other expensive luxury coats to stop students bullying other kids from lower-income backgrounds.

The move comes after a series of incidents involving students bullying other students from lower-income households, that saw Woodchurch High School in Birkenhead, England  to ban children from wearing coats made by Canada Goose, Pyrenex and Moncler or other luxury brands.

Canada Goose sells a wide range of coats but some of their products can go for several hundred dollars, with some items even costing upwards of $1,000.

“There has been feedback from children, who say ‘Gosh, that is our rent for the month,'” the school’s head teacher Rebekah Phillips told CNN .

Reducing children’s anxiety from failing to keep up with latest fashion of their wealthier peers was one of the reasons given for the decision.

Administrators of the school, just outside of Liverpool, U.K., sent a letter to parents explaining the reason for the ban, which will come into effect after Christmas.

According to the letter, the decision came after school administrators became “mindful that some young people put pressure on their parents to purchase expensive items of clothing.”

“These coats cause a lot of inequality between our pupils,” Phillips said. “They stigmatize students and parents who are less well-off and struggle financially.”

There are 1,427 students, between the ages of 11 and 16, who attend the school and approximately 46 per cent of them come from a disadvantaged background, according to CNN.

YouGov, an international Internet-based market research firm, found that two-thirds of British people polled supported the decision.

“The pupils spoke to us about the pressure on families and the pressure on themselves to wear particular branded coats,” Phillips told BBC News, adding that the ban is in line with other measures the school has taken. “A few years ago we introduced a school bag for the same reason.”

Two years ago, the school implemented a compulsory school bag after parents complained that their children sought expensive, brand name backpacks.

The school even cut down on the number of uniform-free school days to reduce the amount of bullying over children’s clothing.

“We have had parents approaching us asking us to introduce a ban prior to us writing the letter,” she also told the British news outlet.

The trend towards so-called “poverty shaming” has been seen in other U.K. schools, including a national initiative seeking to ban expensive pencil cases, earlier this year.

The initiative was started by a charity called Children North East who encouraged schools to take part as a way to keep students of all socio-economic backgrounds to feel more engaged in school.

“The government is constantly saying that the way out of poverty is educational achievement, and by that they mean doing well in school exams and, ideally, going on to further education,” the group’s CEO Jeremy Cripps, told BBC News. “But if you’re not engaging with it to start with, you really haven’t got a chance to take advantage of all that education.”

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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