A student at Spalding Grammar School in the U.K. has been suspended for his silent protest of his school’s ban on backpacks. The ban was brought forth under the guise of health and safety. The school stated, “injury was being caused to younger students as a result of sixth formers carrying ever-larger bags on their shoulders.” Jacob Ford, 17, protested the ban by taking his school supplies to class in a microwave according to the Sun.
Ford called the ban “ridiculous” and had the full support of his mother. Ford brought his supplies to class not only in a microwave but also a wicker basket, another day in a saucepan and finally in a part of a lawnmower. For his actions, he was suspended for two days.
The backpack ban was brought in on the premise that large bags on the backs of older students were hitting the younger students.
Ford initially retaliated to the ban by writing a 3000-word argument to the school, in which he stated, “The reasons for them changing is for one reason and one reason only which has been hammered into all of our brains over the course of the several assemblies that we’ve had. Health and safety. Or more specifically, the year sevens and one member of staff,”
“These people have been struck in the face or knocked backwards by our bags swinging around in the corridor … Once again, I do not doubt this ever happening. But is the best solution really to outright ban backpacks? Surely a compromise can be made,” he wrote, according to Metro UK.
The school administrators, however, called the letter compromised after Ford decided to carry his school items around in odd containers.
“On Thursday, I was called into the headmaster’s office to discuss my document and was told that I had undermined my position by writing a serious report, only to follow it up by taking ridiculous items to school,” he said, according to the paper. “I was told that I had a choice to make, either to have a serious discussion about the issue or to continue my rebellious streak and force the head to take me out of circulation.”
Jacob Ford’s mother felt the issue was a simple expression of free speech and thus supports his humorous attempt to prove his point. “I think Jacob’s protest has been very peaceful and I believe he should have his say,” she said, according to Metro UK. “At the end of the day, I believe in freedom of speech and so I’m very proud of him for standing up for something he believes in. Microwave or no microwave.”
The school was frustrated by her support for her son and the headmaster Stephen Wilkinson said in a statement, “We have a student who has behaved in an increasingly inappropriate way, actions the likes of which I have never witnessed, and who has been sanctioned entirely in line with the school’s policies,” released in Spalding Today. “What disappoints me most is the fact that, rather than working with us, the parent concerned has encouraged and is now seeking to glorify her son’s behaviour.”