High School Bans Talking: Soon, No Eye Contact and No Smiling


Remember high school? That magical time in your life when your skin is terrible, you have no money, you can’t drive, your sex drive is off the charts, and you’re filled with a burning desire to do anything except go to school?  Yes, surely these were the best days of your life. Nowhere to go but down from there! And if you ban talking, it can only get better…?

Well, good news! A secondary school in the UK (basically a high school) has decided to ban talking in the hallway between periods. This was a great relief to high school students, who historically hate talking to their friends in the hallway. Teenagers are also well known for always following the rules, no matter how arbitrary or poorly enforced. They’re the most orderly of the generations, really. They are like Benedictine monks, taking a vow of silence so that they might revel in the work of the Lord.

If you thought that going to school and talking to your buddies was fun, you’re wrong! Apparently, all that conversation in the hallways was leading to “disruptions.” The school’s administration, in its infinite wisdom, made the wise choice to ban conversation between periods instead of, you know, punishing people who get out of hand. Violators of the rule will be punished with detention, where they will presumably have to sit and contemplate their failure to follow the rules. In silence, naturally.

Take this excerpt from the school’s letter to parents explaining the rule and the “logic” behind it:

“We know that behaviour is already of a high standard but we want and expect more from our learners, and so from Monday 5th November students will move around the building in silence during change over times,” the letter read.

“This will ensure students arrive calmly and ready to learn and staff can give out any information they need to swiftly and easily.”

This is very similar to what happens when there’s a plane crash: planes are banned completely until people forget about it. The chaos is immeasurable, sure, but we need to make sure our wide-ranging rule-making both doesn’t affect the root cause of the problem, creates resentment in the populace, and throws all the babies out with the bathwater. It’s just the world we live in. So it’s quite sensible that administrators would ban talking. You know what all the trouble-makers did? Talked to other people. Hopefully, the school administration won’t find out that they all drank water or wore pants. We will have some very dehydrated and very undressed folks on our hands soon if they do.

Students weren’t the only ones bothered by this rule. Parents didn’t exactly take a shine to the draconian policy either.

“It alienates young people and makes school feel like a prison rather than a place of learning.”

“Would any of us go to a workplace where this was the case?”

But never fear: many, many places demand silence in the corridors. And things work out just fine for them. Those places are called prisons and I’ve heard their students are quite happy with their treatment. It creates a strong environment for personal enrichment, at least when you’re not being harassed, shived, or beaten.

This high-end type secondary school is called Ninestiles, and it’s located in Acocks Green, Birmingham (I know, it’s got cock in the name, can you believe it?) which is presumably a nice place. The school is rated as “outstanding” by Ofstead, who appears to be in the business of rating schools.

While administrators promise to “review” the rule at the close of the fall term, it doesn’t bode well for chatty students. They are the ones that came up with the rule, after all. It’s kind of like the Committee for the Betterment of Wolves ruling on a policy for sheep pens.

But in the end, the school surely has the moral imperative to create a learning environment that’s as cold and alienating as humanly possible. That’s how teenagers thrive, so it’s really for the good of us all, you see! As those famous phrases we all know tell us, loose lips sink ships. A wagging tongue is the devil’s tail. Jibber-jabber makes everyone sadder. Yeah, I made those up, what you want to do about it!?

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Alex Fox

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