A pair of nonprofit organizations announced Thursday they have launched a project aimed at combating unreasonable school rules, such as banning certain hairstyles and setting a fixed length for school uniform skirts.
The project, aimed at raising awareness of what the groups term “black kōsoku (black school rules),” was initiated in the wake of a lawsuit filed by a female high school student in Osaka who was forced to dye her naturally brown hair black. The project seeks to spur discussion about how outdated school rules should be adjusted for a new era.
“Students are feeling uncomfortable about the way some schools give guidance, such as publicly denouncing students who break school rules or ordering them to submit documents proving their natural hair color,” said Chiki Ogiue, one of the organizers.
The project organizers will conduct a survey this month targeting people aged between 20 and 50, asking for their experiences and thoughts about school rules, while also gathering the opinions of current students. They are also collecting signatures to submit to the education ministry as early as March and plan to ask the ministry to investigate the issue.
Several accounts of strict school rules have been shared on Twitter, including requirements for male students to shave their heads and female students to have their hair cut above their shoulders. Other policies include banning students from wearing skirts shorter than their knees or waving at their faces or bodies when they feel hot.
“School is an important place where children spend most of their time,” said Yumiko Watanabe, one of the project participants and head of the nonprofit organization Kids’ Door. “It is necessary for us to think about what kind of school rules fit into a new era.”
Stop Ijime! Navi (Stop Bullying! Navi) is the other organization behind the project.