Middle school in Japan says “Don’t wear a sweater” even in cold weather… Why?

On the 25th of last month, a severe cold wave along with heavy snow and strong winds hit Japan, causing damage one after another, and a man is clearing the snow. / Yonhap News Reuters

Even in sub-zero weather, there was a middle school in Japan that banned the wearing of sweaters simply because it was ‘breaking school rules’ on the cutting board. Despite parents’ protests, the school’s side only repeated the claim, “The school does not recognize wearing a sweater because it is not in the regulations,” and the debate continues.

According to Japan’s NHK broadcast on the 9th, on the 25th of last month, a middle school in Hiroshima was not allowed to wear a sweater even in the cold of minus 4.2 degrees, so a second year middle school student caught a bad cold. The school side ordered students to remove their sweaters simply because “wearing a sweater is against school rules.” The student ended up suffering from a high fever the next day and was absent for a week.

It was also a problem that the school prohibited students from wearing winter clothes based solely on the school’s rules, but criticism was also poured on the school’s response afterwards. A student guardian said, “It’s natural for adults and children to wear a sweater on a cold day. This is because when I protested, “Isn’t the school rule strange and should be re-examined?” In addition to the school in question, there are several schools in Hiroshima that have banned the use of jumpers and coats, but they are temporarily allowed in cold weather such as frost. Hiroshima is located south of Busan, so even in winter it rarely drops below freezing and is warm.

The school said, “The regulations state that jumpers, scarves and gloves can be worn, but not jumpers and coats.” He added, “For the safety of children, we must follow the established rules. “Sweaters, scarves, gloves, and other winter clothes that are recognized by the school are enough to cope with the cold,” he said.

This event was also controversial in Japan, which has a strong tendency to conform to rules and norms. Posts criticizing the event poured in on social media, including Twitter. Netizens showed reactions such as “blatant abuse” and “we must protest together”. Often there were netizens who shared similar stories. One netizen said, “No matter how logical the rules are, they have to be re-examined, but it’s scary that they don’t even think about this in the field of education.”

Ryo Uchida, a graduate school professor at Nagoya University, told NHK, “Wearing clothes when it’s cold is necessary for health and safety, but this time we prioritized manuals more than that.” It’s not,” he noted. He continued, “Since the sensation of cold and heat is relative to each person, whether to wear a sweater or a coat should be left to the individual student’s choice or not.”

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