Headteacher blames social media for fuelling student toilet protest

A headteacher of a school where pupils protested about toilet access has blamed social media for fuelling the disorder.

The police were called to Richmond School on Friday after a number of pupils held a protest.

A fire extinguisher was set off and there were reports of further misbehaviour, although police later said there was “no criminal behaviour” and reports in the national media of riot police being sent in at the school were understood to be inaccurate.

The protest was held amid concern from students about access to the toilets during lessons at a break time with students claiming toilets were being locked in a bid to reduce misbehaviour.

Protests were also held in other schools around the country on Friday, with incidents reported at schools in Cornwall, Leeds, South Essex and Lincolnshire, as well as Richmond.

In an email to parents yesterday, Richmond School headteacher Jenna Potter said it had been a “calm day” in school on Monday.

She added: “We have run a series of assemblies with students and clarified a number of key points relating to the protest, use of social media and use of the toilets.”

Drop-in sessions have been in school for students to offer their thoughts and suggestions on the issue.

Mrs Potter added: “To be clear, students are able to access toilets throughout the day, however they should prioritise breaks, lunches and before and after school for this.

“They are able to use the toilet during lesson times if they need to.”

The headteacher said staff felt “disappointed that a minority of students are spoiling the experience of the majority”.

She added: “It does not change our reality, but we are very aware that this is a national issue and not something that is specific to Richmond School and of course, the agenda has been largely fuelled by social media.”